February 28, 2024

Derrell McKinley Harrelson was born in Niles, Calif., about 24 miles southeast of Oakland, on June 6, 1944 (the date of the D-Day invasion), to Glenn and Rena Harrelson. His father was an auto mechanic and car salesman; his mother, Rena, worked in real estate. His brother, Dwayne, who was two years older, at first called him Bubba because he couldn’t pronounce brother; that evolved into Bud and eventually Buddy.

Harrelson’s first marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, Kim Battaglia; three daughters, Kimberly Psarras, Alexandra Abbatiello and Kassandra Harrelson; two sons, Timothy and Troy Harrelson; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

In May 2017, Art Shamsky, an outfielder with the Mets’ 1969 World Series champions, brought together his former teammates Harrelson, Jerry Koosman and Ron Swoboda for a visit with the Mets’ Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, who was living with his wife, Nancy, in California’s Napa Valley and tending to his vineyard. Both Harrelson and Seaver were experiencing memory loss by then, Seaver as a consequence of having contracted Lyme disease. He would die of Lewy body dementia and complications of Covid-19 in 2020 at 75.

That reunion and the Mets’ 1969 season were recounted in “After the Miracle: The Lasting Brotherhood of the ’69 Mets” (2019), written by Shamsky in collaboration with the sportswriter Erik Sherman, who had also been at the gathering.

“Nine years Tom and I were roommates,” Harrelson remarked at the reunion. “And we’ve been like brothers ever since.”

As Shamsky put it in telling of that trip, “It’s a cruel twist of fate what time has done to two men synonymous with everything great about the game of baseball — and the history of the New York Mets.”

Sofia Poznansky contributed reporting.