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Mets 101 All-Star Memories – Bud Harrelson (1970-71)

June 7th, 2013 at 8:53 PM
By Steve Popoloski

A member of the ballclub's 1969 World Series squad, Derrel "Bud" Harrelson was a steady fixture in the New York Mets infield for thirteen seasons from 1965 to 1978. Bud Harrelson was a light hitter but possessed a slick glove and made a name for himself based on his fielding ability. A career .236 hitter, Harrelson was nominated for the National League MVP award in 1970 and won a Gold Glove in 1971. Not coincidentally, these were the two seasons that he was chosen to represent the league at the mid-summer classic, the MLB All-Star game.

'Bud Harrelson Hall of Fame Plaque' photo (c) 2010, slgckgc - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The 1970 All-Star Game was held in Cincinnati, with the National League riding a seven-game win streak dating back to 1963. Harrelson joined manager Gil Hodges and Tom Seaver, who was named the starting pitcher by Hodges, as the three Mets representatives in the game. Although not a starter, Harrelson got into the ballgame in the seventh inning, coming in as a fielding replacement for starter Don Kessinger of the Chicago Cubs, in what was then a 2-0 American League lead.

Harrelson singled and later scored in the bottom of the seventh on a Willie McCovey double play ball to get the NL on the board going into the ninth. The AL extended their lead to 4-1 on a Brooks Robinson two-RBI triple, threatening the NL's long standing win streak. After Dick Dietz homered to lead off the home half of the ninth, Harrelson kept the NL hot, singling and later scoring on a McCovey base knock. The NL would tie the game on a Roberto Clemente sacrifice fly that scored Joe Morgan and sent the game into extra innings.

In his final at bat in the eleventh, Harrelson flew out to center fielder Amos Otis, finishing two-for-three with two runs scored. The National League went on to win the game in the bottom of the twelfth on perhaps the most controversial play in All-Star Game history. On a Jim Hickman to center, Pete Rose barreled around third and headed for home, blasting through catcher Ray Fosse and scoring the winning run. Fosse was injured on the play and never the same after that collision and Rose caught a great deal of criticism for going "too hard" in an exhibition game. Nevertheless, the NL extended their winning streak to eight years with a twelve inning, 5-4 victory.

The All-Star Game shifted to Detroit for the 1971 installment, as Tiger Stadium played host to the leagues best. This time, Harrelson was named the NL's starting shortstop but would go 0-for-2 before being replaced by the same player he replaced the year before, Don Kessinger. The American League went on to win the game 6-4, ending their eight year drought. It would be the last All-Star appearance for Harrelson, who would play in the majors until 1980, when he retired after 1,533 games and 1,120 hits.

Tags: All-Star, Baseball, Bud Harrelson, Gil Hodges, MLB, New York, New York Mets, Pete Rose, Ray Fosse, Tom Seaver, Willie McCovey

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