Buddy Harrelson, the resilient shortstop central to the New York Mets’ triumphs, passed away at 79 after battling Alzheimer’s. 

Renowned New York Mets shortstop and manager, Buddy Harrelson, a key figure in the franchise’s historic victories, succumbed to Alzheimer’s at the age of 79. The Mets confirmed his demise at an East Northport hospice.

Who was Buddy Harrelson?

Buddy Harrelsom (x/@tommorache)

Harrelson’s illustrious baseball career spanned from 1965 to 1980, with the majority spent as a defensive anchor for the Mets. Instrumental in both of the Mets’ World Series championships in 1969 and 1986, Harrelson left an indelible mark on the franchise.

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His achievements extended beyond the field; Harrelson was part-owner of the Long Island Ducks, an independent minor league team he played a pivotal role in establishing. He regarded his decades-long involvement with the Ducks as his crowning achievement in baseball.

Harrelson, known as “Buddy” to family and teammates, contributed significantly to the Mets’ successes. His tenure included being the third-base coach during the 1986 World Series, where the Mets secured a memorable victory against the Boston Red Sox.

However, Harrelson’s impact wasn’t confined to playing and coaching. He managed the Mets for almost two seasons, achieving a notable second-place finish in the NL East in 1990. Inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1986, Harrelson’s legacy in Queens is etched in the team’s history.

The California-born shortstop, who initially joined the Mets in 1965, was involved in a legendary on-field altercation with Pete Rose during the 1973 NL Championship Series. Despite facing a larger opponent, Harrelson’s tenacity defined the scuffle.

In later years, Harrelson’s post-playing endeavors included co-founding the Long Island Ducks, and he became an ambassador for Alzheimer’s awareness after being diagnosed in 2016.

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Harrelson’s contribution to baseball and his resilience in the face of Alzheimer’s make him an enduring figure in the sport’s history. As the Mets and baseball community mourn his loss, Buddy Harrelson’s impact will forever be etched in the annals of New York baseball lore.