Monday, March 25, 2024

Mets To Honor Buddy Harrelson With Uniform Patch This Season


Citi Field this past Thursday. Photo by Jason Schott.

With Opening Day coming up on Thursday on Citi Field, the Mets announced that they will have a patch honoring Mets Hall of Famer Buddy Harrelson, a member of the 1969 Amazin' Mets and coach on the 1986 World Championship team.

Harrelson, who also managed the Mets in 1990 and '91, passed away on January 10 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's. 

The patch, which will be above the Mets' logo on the sleeve of their home and road jerseys, will feature Harrelson's number 3 with his nickname "BUDDY" in a diamond.

Courtesy of the New York Mets.

On Opening Day Thursday afternoon, before the Mets take on the Milwaukee Brewers, Harrelson's six grandchildren will be involved in the ceremonial first pitches. Antonio Abbatiello, Luciano Abbatiello, Danielle Soppit, Nathan Rheinor, Ryan Harrelson, and Brandon Rheinor will represent the family. 23 members of the Harrelson family will be in attendance.

Kim Battaglia, who was married to Buddy Harrelson for 36 years, said in a statement released by the Mets, "I told the kids on a Zoom call what the Mets were doing for Buddy. They were all so happy and overwhelmed. It will be an emotional day. We just want to thank Steve and Alex (Cohen) for honoring him. For us, it was just confirmation for the kind of person Buddy was. I don't think there was a kinder or more generous man than Buddy. He had a heart of gold."

Harrelson played shortstop and second base for the Mets from 1965 to 1977, and in addition to winning a ring in 1969, he was a part of the Ya Gotta Believe 1973 National League Championship team. The lasting moment from the 1973 NLCS was when Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds crashed into him at second base, and Harrelson fought back, leading to a benches clearing brawl.

A two-time All-Star in 1970 and '71, Harrelson earned the 1971 Gold Glove at shortstop. After he retired, he became a coach for the Mets in 1982 and then from 1985-90, which means he was in uniform for their second championship in 1986.

In 1990, Harrelson took over as Manager from Davey Johnson, and he led them on a late season surge that nearly got them into the playoffs, as they went 71-49 and finished 91-71. He then managed most of the 1991 season, but was relieved of his duties when they were 74-80.

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