Buddy Harrelson, Suffolk Sports Hall of Famer, Dies at 79

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Buddy Harrelson, Suffolk Sports Hall of Famer, Dies at 79

Buddy Harrelson was a staple in Suffolk County as a resident, co-owner, and co-founder of the Long Island Ducks. A New York Mets legend from the World Series winning team in 1969 as a player and 1986 as a coach, Harrelson was inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. He passed away at the age of 79 after battling courageously with Alzheimer’s.

“Not only is he an inductee, but Bud was a close friend of the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame,” said Hall of Fame President Chris R. Vaccaro. “He was a constant presence at induction ceremonies during the 1990s and 2000s and was a longtime supporter of our effort to remember the great athletes and coaches who helped make Suffolk County a special place. We will help preserve his enduring legacy through our work and mission for years to come.”

Bud Harrelson speaks at the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame induction in 1995.

While his achievements with the Mets are lauded, his leadership with the Long Island Ducks has helped entertain millions of baseball fans in Central Islip for generations. He often said that his work with the Ducks was the best thing he did in baseball. Considering he won a Gold Glove, was a two-time All-Star, won two World Series rings, was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame, and played 16 seasons of Major League Baseball, that’s saying a lot.

”Bud’s impact on Long Island will be felt through Ducks baseball for as long as we play,” said Ducks Owner/CEO Frank Boulton in a release. “He was my partner in bringing professional baseball to Long Island following his outstanding playing career in MLB, and he made his mark on so many through his charitable giving, appearances, and kindness. He was a one-of-a-kind human being, and he is missed greatly.”

Harrelson, a longtime resident of Hauppauge, was the only New York Met to be in uniform for both of the franchise’s World Series titles. He was the inaugural manager of the Long Island Ducks in 2000 and served as the Atlantic League president that season. True to his winning ways, his Ducks had a league-best record of 82-58, and he was named Atlantic League Manager of the Year. In 2018, his No. 3 was retired by the franchise.

“Bud Harrelson’s life was dedicated to the game of baseball, his community, and his family,” said Ducks President Michael Pfaff. “He exemplified what it meant to give back and set a community outreach standard for this organization that we work to uphold every day while keeping his memory alive with Ducks baseball.”

Bud Harrelson (c.) with Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame Founding President Butch Dellecave (l.) and St. John’s legend Lou Carnesecca (r.).