Mets Great Rusty Staub Dies At 73

Adjust Comment Print

Baseball fans are remembering legendary slugger Rusty Staub, who died Thursday in Florida.

Staub, who served two tours with the Mets, was 73 when he passed away in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"He was nearly as well known for his philanthropic work as he was for his career as a baseball player", the Mets said in part of their statement. There wasn't a cause he didn't champion.

After his playing career, Staub gave back to NY firefighters and police officers through the Rusty Staub Foundation, raising millions for the families of first responders killed in the line of duty. He also is one of only four players in major league history to hit home runs as a teenager and in his 40s. "The entire organization sends its deepest sympathy to his family. He will be missed by everyone".

Staub would have turned 74 this Sunday.

Affectionately dubbed "Le Grand Orange" in Montreal, he broke into the majors as a teenager with Houston, lasted into his 40s with the Mets and spent decades doing charity work in the NY area.

Staub played for more than 20 years, made six All-Star appearances and is the only Major League Baseball player in history to rack up 500 hits with four different teams. Rusty loved NY, and New York loved him back.

He owned and operated two popular Manhattan restaurants that bore his name, and authored a children's book titled "Hello, Mr. Met!" Earlier this month, Staub's friends asked publicly for prayers as Staub battled kidney failure, with the Mets telling The New York Post in a statement that team executives Fred and Jeff Wilpon had been in touch with the former star and "all of us wish Rusty and his loved ones well in his courageous battle".

Rusty Staub speaks during his induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ontario, on June 23, 2012.

Staub was also a six-time All-Star and helped the Mets win the 1973 World Series title.

Staub played 23 season, including three with the Detroit Tigers between 1976 and 1979 where he was voted the start the 1976 All-Star Game.

Staub's popularity remained strong in his adopted home for the rest of his life, witnessed by the ovation he received when he threw the ceremonial first pitch during the Mets' 2015 postseason. On Rusty Staub Day, July 13, 1986, Mets players came on the field during the ceremony wearing bright red wigs and presented him a plaque with their signatures on it.