Buddy Harrelson, one of the first stars of the New York Mets and a member of the 1969 World Series championship club, died at the age of 79 at a hospice house in East Northport, NY after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s, the team announced on Thursday.
“We were saddened to learn of Mets Hall of Famer Buddy Harrelson’s passing,” a statement from team owners Steve and Alex Cohen read. “He was skilled defender and spark plug on the 1969 Miracle Mets. The Gold Glove shortstop played 13 years in Queens, appearing in more games at short than anyone else in team history.
“Buddy was the third base coach on the 1986 World Champs, becoming the only person to be in uniform on both World Series winning teams. We extend our deepest condolences to his entire family.”
Harrelson played 13 seasons with the Mets from 1965-1977, accruing two All-Star Game nods while winning the 1971 Gold Glove at shortstop. His 1,322 games rank fourth in franchise history and his 1,029 hits rank seventh.
Also a member of the 1973 pennant winners, one of Harrelson’s benchmark moments during his playing days was a brawl in that season’s NLCS with Cincinnati Reds star and MLB all-time hits leader, Pete Rose.
After brief stints with the Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers to end his playing career, Harrelson rejoined the Mets as a coach in 1982 and again from 1985-1990. He was a third-base coach for the 1986 team where he is famously captured waving home and running behind Ray Knight in Game 6 of the World Series after Mookie Wilson’s infamous game-winning grounder slipped through the legs of Bill Buckner.
He took over as manager of the club in 1990 where he stayed through the 1991 season.
In 2000, he became co-owner, senior vice president of baseball operations, and first-base coach of the Independent League’s Long Island Ducks.
The Harrelson family announced they will hold a celebration of his life at a later date.