Bud Harrelson: ‘I Always Wanted the Mets.’

Posted February 1st, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Bud Harrelson, Casey Stengel, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants
Good luck finding
a ‘Derrel’ autograph
today!

Did Bud Harrelson want to play for the San Francisco Giants? I quoted to him from The Ballplayers, a 1990 reference book.

“Harrelson grew up in California wanting to play for the Giants, who rejected him as too small.”

This was repeated in a thorough SABR biography.

I asked for details. Who did the rejecting? How? His reply was fascinating:

“The Giants never scouted me. I always wanted the Mets.”

The Ballplayers did point out one epic week in Harrelson’s career. In the same week in late 1966, he secured Met wins against the Giants and Pirates with dramatic steals of home. The losses dashed pennant hopes for both clubs.

Why don’t we see more steals of home today?

“The old-time pitchers had a longer wind-up.”

Harrelson learned to switch-hit after struggling to hit his weight in 1965.

“Casey Stengel encouraged me. I wanted to play every day, right and left.”

I enjoyed discovering the Ultimate Mets Database entry for Harrelson. Be sure to check out the fan memories section, too.

Tomorrow: Revisit Yankee Stadium, circa 1964, with Roger Repoz

Walter Alston & Casey Stengel Successful Today? Not Likely, Says Pitcher Larry Miller


Back in 2001, former pitcher Larry Miller still threw strikes.

Verbal strikes, that is.

Miller didn’t sugar-coat his opinions when asked about hurling for two
Hall of Fame managers in a three-year career. Furthermore, Miller slung
a high, hard one at the 1960s Mets organization.

“I never got to know either Alston or Stengel as people,” Miller began. “As managers, they had similar skills as far as making proper strategic moves during a game. Neither spent much effort trying to connect with the players. My belief is that neither would be very successful managing today’s players who require and demand special considerations.”

When coach Wes Westrum took over the Mets following Stengel’s retirement, Miller felt that the new manager was doomed.

“Westrum took over a team still brimming with expansion players. The core of the ’69 Mets (Seaver, Ryan, Koosman, McGraw, etc.) were just coming into the organization as minor leaguers. The best manager in baseball at that time would have had difficulty improving the Mets record.

“The old saying ‘You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s – – – ‘ applies here.”

Walter Alston & Casey Stengel Successful Today? Not Likely, Says Pitcher Larry Miller


Back in 2001, former pitcher Larry Miller still threw strikes.

Verbal strikes, that is.

Miller didn’t sugar-coat his opinions when asked about hurling for two
Hall of Fame managers in a three-year career. Furthermore, Miller slung
a high, hard one at the 1960s Mets organization.

“I never got to know either Alston or Stengel as people,” Miller began. “As managers, they had similar skills as far as making proper strategic moves during a game. Neither spent much effort trying to connect with the players. My belief is that neither would be very successful managing today’s players who require and demand special considerations.”

When coach Wes Westrum took over the Mets following Stengel’s retirement, Miller felt that the new manager was doomed.

“Westrum took over a team still brimming with expansion players. The core of the ’69 Mets (Seaver, Ryan, Koosman, McGraw, etc.) were just coming into the organization as minor leaguers. The best manager in baseball at that time would have had difficulty improving the Mets record.

“The old saying ‘You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s – – – ‘ applies here.”