Buddy Harrelson died the other day.
Shortstop of the ’69 World Series-winning Mets,
He took his place in that eternal lineup alongside
His teammates who now reside in history and will
Forever play the game at its highest level. Gone
Is The Franchise, Tom Seaver, the leader of the
Players, who set the standard and lived up to it
And demanded excellence from teammates by
Example. Gone are third baseman Ed Charles,
Center fielder Tom Agee. Gone is Harrelson,
Whom teammate Art Shamsky said, “wasn’t big
In stature but had a big heart” — an everyman
The fans related to for his looking like them and
For his constant effort, even throwing punches
When that was called for. Ask Pete Rose. Gone
Is their manager, Gil Hodges, as are their coaches:
Yogi Berra, Joe Pignatano, Rube Walker, Eddie Yost —
All the angels who guided the Miracle Mets in their
Lives and on the field, who shared their spirit and
Their vision for that season and who fathered
That roster of pioneering winners to the Magic
Land which all baseball players fantasize about.

But though this team of wonders — the first Met team
Ever to have had a winning record, a team that went
From worst in ’68 to first in ’69 to forever in the hearts
Of its fans — a team that beat the best pitching staff
In the Majors that year and a potent total Oriole
Team — is mostly gone, they play on in the hearts,
The souls, the memories . . . the essence . . . of fans everywhere
Who dare to dream as Don Quixote long ago once did,
The fans that see their team as in first place on the first
Day of every season, and who say to themselves when
It’s much too soon for them to be challenged, “Why can’t
This be the year when we take it all? If that miracle team
Could pull it off, so can we.” Rest in peace, Bud. Have a
Catch with Tom and Ed. Once again, make Gil proud with
Your energy and your integrity. Baseball is eternal, because of
You and those who shared that magic year with you,
Both the players and the fans. Know in your forever consciousness
That on this day we are all Bud Harrelson!