So here we are, basically one third of the way through this extensive list of Mets royalty as voted by you the fans, and painstakingly researched by yours truly. We have seen fan favorites such as Millan, Swan, Maz and Swoboda take their rightful place on this list along side some of the more accomplished players such as Hundley , Floyd, Agee and Ojeda. All these players brought their blood, sweat and tears to the ballpark everyday. But number thirty on this list might have been the hardest working player this team has ever known. That player is none other than Bud Harrelson.
Derrel McKinley “Bud” Harrelson was born in Niles California on June 6, 1944. Bud was the captain of the Mets infield from his inception with the Mets in 1965 until he was traded to the Phillies in 1978. Bud was the prototypical shortstop of his era. He was all glove and very little bat. In his thirteen year Mets career he owned a .234 batting average with six homers and 242 RBIs. but on the flip side he had a had a lifetime fielding percentage with the Mets of .970 . Bud would win one Gold Glove with the Mets in the ’71 season, and he was voted to the National League All Star squad in 1970.
One of Bud’s funniest and finest moments occurred during the ’73 NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds, when he was involved in an altercation with Pete Rose which quickly escalated into a benches clearing brawl.
It happened in the fifth inning of game three .Reds second baseman, Joe Morgan hit a ball that would have been a double play ball to Mets first baseman John Milner.Pete Rose slid hard into second base, attempting to break up the double play . Bud Felt he went in to take him out over remarks that Bud said prior to the game in which he joked that John Matlack made the Cincinnati Reds hitter look like him – a reference to Bud’s inability to hit for a high average. Words were exchanged then fists flew, and both benches cleared. After the the brawl was contained and the game was slated to continue, Reds manager Sparky Anderson pulled his team off the field, and nearly had the game called because the Mets faithful in Shea Stadium were throwing everything and anything at Rose while he took his position in the outfield.The game finally resumed after National League President, Chub Feeney sent Mets Manager Yogi Berra along with players Willie Mays, Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones, and Rusty Staub to quell the fans.The Mets would end up advancing to the World Series against the Oakland A’s where they lost in seven games.
In the ’75 season , Bud missed most of the season due to a knee injury that required surgery.He would only play in thirty four games that season.
Prior to the ’78 season, the Mets traded Bud to the Philadelphia Phillies for minor league second baseman, Fred Andrews. Mets fans were livid. They blamed the Mets President M. Donald Grant for exiling superstars, Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Tug McGraw and importing so-so talent. Andrews never even smelled the major leagues.
Bud would re-sign with the Phillies as a free agent just before the start of the 1979 season. After two seasons with the Phillies, Harrelson spent one season with the Texas Rangers before retiring.
After his retirement, Harrelson managed in the Mets farm system. In 1985 he would become the Mets third base coach after then coach , Bobby Valentine accepted the managerial job with the Texas Rangers. Harrelson was a coach with the Mets during their 1986 World Series championship season. In the ’90 season, Bud would replace Davey Johnson as Mets manager aftwer the Mets went 20-22 going into the first 42 games that season. The team would rebound, finishing at 91-71 . Bud was retained for the ’91 season ,and the Mets played well for much of the season, but the team would collapse in the second half and Harrelson was canned with a week remaining in the season. He was replaced the despised ( at least by me !!)third base coach, Mike Cubbage.
Bud is the co owner as well as the Vice President for Baseball Operations for the Long Island Ducks, an unaffiliated minor league baseball team for which he also serves as their first base coach. He was on hand at the ” Shea Goodbye” ceremony to help close down the Mets home for Forty Four years, Shea Stadium. Bud is still frequent visitor at Mets games.
Bud might not have been the best offensive shortstop the Mets have ever had, but he was the first dominat defensive one !!
Tomorrow we will lift the curtains on number 29 of the top 50 Mets of all time , Heres a hint , he was one of the biggest steals in Frank Cashen’s career !!!
And with that said…. HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!!!
Mets alumni celebrating birthdays today include :
Mets reserve outfielder from ’74-’76, Benny Ayala is 60 (1951) .
Mets starting pitcher from ’81-’82, Charlie Puleo is 56 (1955) .
One of the best reserve outfielders the Mets have ever had, Endy Chavez is 33 (1978). That catch that he made in the ’06 NLCS will forever be a iconic image in Mets history.
The New York Mets traded pitchers, Hank Webb and Richard Sander to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league shortstop, Rich Auerbach on February 7, 1977.
Pitcher,Mickey Lolich announced his retirement on February 7, 1977. We traded Rusty Staub for this over the hill pitcher only for him to have a lousy season. He would add insult to injury when he would make a comeback with the Sand Diego Padres in ’78.
The New York Mets released utilityman, Ross Jones on February 7, 1986.
The New York Mets claimed utility infielder, David Lamb on waivers from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on February 7, 2000.
And while you get over last nights hangover, just remember that there are just 53 Bobby Valentine ( when he was a coach) days until the Mets open the 2011 season against the Florida Marlins in Miami, and just 60 moredays until the Mets 2011 home opener against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.
Mo Vaughn had to retire his terrible towel” after he woke up this moring and saw that he used it as a diaper !!!