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From the very beginning there was never any question about the rest of Harrelson's ball game. The manager, the coaches—among them Yogi Berra and Eddie Yost, who have seen all the great shortstops since World War II—the other players, the teammates, all agree.
YOST: The shortstops, the real good ones, are defensive-minded. Bud is like that. He is quick, he can run real fast and he has the very good arm. Boudreau was very good, but he was not as fast as Harrelson. Rizzuto was as good as anyone defensively, but his arm was not as good as Bud's.
BERRA: When he first came up he was green all right, but he was just like he is today—easy, friendly. Everybody liked him, and he could play already, too.
MARTY MARION: Harrelson always impressed me as the guy who held the Mets together. He's a lot better than they give him credit for being, both in fielding and hitting.
MAURY WILLS: Harrelson can make all the plays. He's quick, active, has an outstanding arm and excellent anticipation. He knows how to play a hitter after he's seen him around the league awhile. That shows good knowledge of how to play the game.
GIL HODGES: With the kind of ball club we have, if we don't have a great shortstop we're in a lot of trouble. I don't believe the club could have had the kind of year we had last year without Harrelson. This year he's capable of doing a more outstanding job because he knows the hitters, and he can steal bases. In a couple of more years when he gets to know the hitters even better and our pitchers better, he'll get to the point where he can conserve some of his energies and not get so tired.
SEAVER: Bud and Tom Agee are the most important parts of this team defensively. They're always on top of the game. Bud is a great help to me and the other pitchers when things aren't going well. He'll run to the mound and tell us to slow down. Or he'll say to make sure we get the next one or ask if I want him to cheat a little on the hitter. He may even tell me I'm dropping my shoulder a little or not getting down enough on my right leg.
WILLS: His most outstanding factor is that he is good every day. When I say he's consistent, I mean that perhaps today he will be outstanding, tomorrow he will be fantastic, the next day consistent, down a bit the next day, then back to outstanding and so forth. He's taken more hits away from me than any other shortstop in baseball.
ROY McMILLAN: Bud is the kind of fellow who wants only to play and win, and he'll do anything it takes for his team to win. He doesn't shoot off his mouth and is quiet, which is probably the reason he has been overlooked in some quarters, but you can't condemn a fellow for that. He's a great shortstop and a fine fellow. Any honors he's got coming are long overdue.
HODGES: It's getting so the unusual play for him is now routine