A common criticism of the New York Mets’ current ownership group has been their lack of respect for their own history. The Wilpons got criticized when Citi Field first opened due to a lack of Mets’ memorabilia, and they have also had estranged relations with several of the franchise’s past legends. Tom Seaver has been rarely seen at Citi Field over the past few years, and another Met great who has been scarce is former shortstop Bud Harrelson. Harrelson, a long time fan favorite, hasn’t been in contact with the Wilpons for a while and is in the midst of a fight with Alzheimer’s, Bob Klapisch of the New York Post reports.
The diagnosis came in late 2016, shortly after Harrelson began forgetting directions to places he had routinely gone in the past. Harrelson can no longer drive and had trouble with some aspects of his memory in his conversation with Klapisch, but for now the majority of his memories remain intact. The current state of the Alzheimer’s is “mild to moderate”, but as most people know there is no cure for the disease. During his conversation with Klapisch, Harrelson spoke fondly of his glory days with the Mets in the 60’s and 70’s, but called his role with the Long Island Ducks as “the best thing I’ve ever done in baseball.” The Ducks have had Harrelson in their organization for years, where he has served as a coach, manager, and remains a part owner.
Harrelson’s statement about the Ducks was clearly a thinly veiled shot at the Mets, which Klapisch notes was intentional. The Wilpons have had very limited contact with Harrelson in recent years, so he has shifted his attention over to the Ducks. This is a shame, especially since Harrelson is the one person with direct connections to both of the Mets’ World Series titles (he played for the 1969 team and was a coach on Davey Johnson’s staff in 1986). The Mets should try and make things right with Harrelson while he is still mentally capable of appearing at Citi Field, but this ownership group has yet to show they can honor their past properly.