Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

Bud Harrelson a good guy and a Legend… Thanks for the memories!

When I say that Buddy Harrelson was a Legend, I mean a St Lucie Legend.

That was the name of a senior professional baseball team that I was the general manager of in 1989 and 1990.

It was an experimental league for players that were advancing in years but still wanted to play professional baseball. You had to be 35 and over.

There were plenty of big-name players like Bobby Bonds, Graig Nettles, Vida Blue, and two-time MVP George Foster.

I named my team the Legends and filled it with many former Yankees including Nettles and Bonds and the great Luis Tiant. Our uniforms were also exactly like the Yankees, navy blue pinstripes and all.

My shortstop was the very popular Yankee utility infielder Fred Chicken Stanley. There was a game in that my then-elderly infielder had to react awkwardly to his left and pulled a hamstring. The trainer told me that Stanley was done for the rest of the season so I signed Sergio Ferrer an infielder that the Yankees had just released from triple-A. The problem was that he couldn’t get to me till Saturday and I needed an infielder to play shortstop the next night which was Friday. Bobby Bonds told me that Bud Harrelson was in the Mets spring training office there in the ballpark that we were using. He said that I should talk to him to see if he would be willing to play a game. So I said that I had nothing to lose so I went to talk to him and explained the situation. At the time he was a Mets coach so I knew that he was still in good shape. He told me that he could only play that Friday night. I said that would be fine. So Harrelson showed up that next night and we had him leading off and naturally playing short.

He actually made a couple of nice plays and after striking out the first two at-bats as faith would have it in his last at-bat he lined a single to left field batting left-handed to win the game.

After the game, I told Bud that he was welcome to stay and he said thank you but I’m good. He said that this was a perfect way to finish.

I could tell that he was really happy for what he accomplished in the game and it made me proud that I played a little role in giving a true World Series Champion and good person a chance to relive his glorious past.

Bud Harrelson died today after a long battle with Alzheimer’s however the person he was and the thrills he has given the baseball world will live forever. I guess that really does make him a Legend.

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