Miracle Mets Legend Bud Harrelson Passes Away at 79: Remembering a Skilled Defender and Spark Plug

Mets’ two-time World Series shortstop and former manager, Bud Harrelson, passed away at the age of 79 at a hospice home in East Northport, Long Island. Harrelson had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. During his baseball career, Harrelson spent 15 years in the major leagues, playing on both the Mets’ championship-winning team in 1969 and their National League pennant-winning team in 1973. He was known for his strong defense and was the starting shortstop for the Mets during these significant seasons.

The Mets announced Harrelson’s death in a release, expressing their sadness and recognizing his contributions to the team. The owners, Steve and Alex Cohen, praised Harrelson’s defensive skills and his role as a spark plug for the Miracle Mets in 1969. They also noted Harrelson’s record as the Mets’ third base coach during their 1986 World Championship season, making him the only person to be in uniform for both of the team’s World Series victories.

After retiring from playing, Harrelson continued his involvement in baseball as a member of the Long Island Ducks, an independent league team. He served as the team’s first manager and later became a vice president and part-owner. Harrelson considered his affiliation with the Ducks as the best thing he had ever done in baseball.

In addition to his baseball career, Harrelson was known for his fight with Pete Rose during Game 3 of the 1973 NLCS. The incident occurred when Harrelson objected to Rose’s hard slide into second base, leading to a bench-clearing brawl. Despite their on-field altercation, Harrelson and Rose later became friends, with Rose expressing gratitude to Harrelson for the fame the brawl brought him.

Harrelson’s battle with Alzheimer’s became public in 2018, two years after his diagnosis. He actively participated in raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research.

Harrelson is survived by his ex-wife Kim Battaglia, who served as his primary caregiver, as well as his children and grandchildren. His impact on the Long Island community and his contributions to baseball will be remembered by all who knew him.

[Restated Key Facts:]
– Bud Harrelson, the shortstop for the Mets’ World Series-winning teams in 1969 and 1973, has passed away at the age of 79.
– Harrelson was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.
– He spent 15 years in the major leagues, primarily with the Mets.
– Harrelson played a crucial role in the Mets’ championship victories and their subsequent success.
– After retiring from playing, Harrelson was involved with the Long Island Ducks.
– He publicly shared his battle with Alzheimer’s and became an advocate for raising awareness about the disease.
– Harrelson is survived by his ex-wife, children, and grandchildren.