Only three men have ever played more games for the Mets than Bud Harrelson. His 1,322 games with the Metropolitans aren’t in any danger of losing its fourth-place spot anytime soon either. With free agency now available, he’s likely to stay there for a very long time.
Harrelson is one of those gritty players who stuck with the Mets through thick and thin. He was there for the 1969 championship. Harrelson also spent most of the bleaker 1970s with them as well.
In no way a top offensive weapon, Harrelson made up for his lack of power with sometimes superb defense. He’s the all-time franchise leader in defensive WAR at 13.7. His 1971 Gold Glove Award secured his reputation as a good defender.
A typical year from Harrelson included minimal power, maybe a .250 batting average if they were lucky and a consistent OBP slightly above .300. He hit only six home runs in 13 seasons with the Mets.
However, he did almost walk as often as he struck out. The ability to put the ball in play surely paid off at times throughout his playing days. He was similar to other middle infielders of the day with a focus on fielding over offense.
Harrelson ended his Mets career batting .234/.324/.287. Thanks to longevity, his 1,029 hits ranks sixth among anyone in team history.
It also helps that he took Pete Rose on in a fight during the 1973 NLCS. You have to respect someone willing to show fire on the field in the most important of situations.