New York Mets Great, Alzheimer’s Advocate Bud Harrelson Dies at 79

Bud Harrelson, Mets Hall of Fame shortstop and two-time All-Star, has died at age 79, six years after sharing his Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

In a statement, New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and his wife Alex said, “We were saddened to learn of Mets Hall of Famer Buddy Harrelson’s passing. He was a 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’s figure looms large in Mets history, as he played with the team for the better part of two different decades, from 1965 through 1977. That put him on the 1969 Miracle Mets team that won the World Series, the franchise’s first title. During that stretch, he won a Gold Glove for his defense and was named to two All-Star teams.

He returned to the team as a coach in the 80s and 90s, ultimately becoming manager in 1990, a position he held through the 1991 season. He was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1986, the other season the franchise won the World Series.

His broad Mets family shared tributes as they learned of his death. That included Sarah Seaver, daughter of fellow Mets great Tom Seaver, who passed away from complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19 in 2020.

Sarah said, “Buddy was more than a teammate and dad’s roommate. Dad lovingly called him ‘Roomie’ for the rest of their lives. And to me, he was Uncle Bud, always quick with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. Dad and Buddy loved to talk baseball together — but more than anything there was laughter, huge smiles and a lot of love between them. [We] send all our love to Buddy’s family and friends.”

In 2018, Harrelson and his family went public with his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, in an effort to reduce stigma, bring more awareness to the disease, and raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. His work with the organization included serving as honorary chair for the Alzheimer’s Association Long Island Chapter Walk to End Alzheimer’s, as well as serving on the chapter’s Board of Directors.

Joanne Pike, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, says, “The Alzheimer’s Association mourns the loss of New York Mets legend Bud Harrelson. Mr. Harrelson was a champion both on and off the field. Together with his family, he bravely shared his Alzheimer’s diagnosis to increase awareness and inspire change. For the Harrelson family, and the millions of others impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia, we will remain relentless in our work of increasing awareness, providing support, and accelerating research and treatments, to slow, stop and ultimately, cure Alzheimer’s disease.”

To read more tributes to Harrelson from his Mets family, click here.

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