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Pete Rose, who brawled with Bud Harrelson during NLCS, remembers former Met as ‘good guy’

NEW YORK — Pete Rose felt no ill will toward Bud Harrelson after their famous fight in the 1973 NLCS, the former Reds star told the New York Daily News Thursday after learning of Harrelson’s death.

Rose’s hard slide into second base during Game 3 of the playoff series between the Mets and Reds initiated a benches-clearing brawl — delivering a lasting image of the baserunner and the shortstop tussling on the Shea Stadium infield.

“All that was two aggressive guys playing in a series that’s gonna give you the right to go to the World Series,” Rose told The News. “Of course, the Mets beat us that series. I tried to break up a double play, and he took offense to it and called me a name, and I really didn’t hit him — I just grabbed him.

“If you want to know the truth, the guy that started the fight was [Mets third baseman] Wayne Garrett,” Rose said. “He just came running in from third and just jumped on the pile and started swinging, and all hell broke loose.”

The scuffle left the scrappy Harrelson, who was considerably smaller than Rose, with a bruise above his eye. Harrelson got the last laugh, however, as the Mets won the game, 9-2, and the series in five games.

“I got along with Bud after that,” Rose, 82, said. “I had nothing personal against Bud Harrelson. The only problem I had with him was that he played for the Mets.”

Harrelson, who played 13 seasons with the Mets and later managed them for parts of two others, died at age 79 after a long fight with Alzheimer’s, his former club announced Thursday.

Rose, the all-time MLB hits leader, knew Harrelson was sick in recent years, as friends of the latter kept him informed. He remembers Harrelson as a “good guy.”

“He was fun to play against,” Rose said. “We had an altercation, which is part of the game. I’ll miss him, because Bud was a pretty decent guy.”