Rusty Staub Dies: New York Mets Icon Was 73

4050 Reasons to Appreciate Rusty Staub

Unfortunately, the baseball world must give due pause on Thursday morning, as the news of Rusty Staub makes it way around the country. He also had a near fatal heart attack in 2015. A foodie, a wine connoisseur and a NY restaurant owner, the stories of Staub holding court with fans, the media and baseball figures, usually over glasses of wine, are legion. He started a foundation, which in turn started the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund, which helps the families of New York area police and fire fighters killed in the line of duty.

Also a year ago, he announced that the Rusty Staub Foundation had donated more than $1 million to its participating charities in 2017. Nicknamed Le Grand Orange for his stature and his blaze orange hair, Staub was the Expos' first star, hitting an outstanding.302/.426/.526 with 29 homers in the club's first year of existence. His Rusty Staub Foundation donated more than $100 million to the widows and children of NY policeman and firefigherts killed in the line of duty, including on 9/11.

He was obtained by the Mets before the 1972 season and once gain became an instant fan favorite out in right field. He led the National League with 44 doubles in 1967, when he was selected to the All-Star Game for the first time. He was a key member of the group that went from last place to the World Series in 1973.

The Mets came close to derailing what would become a three-peat dynasty in Oakland, losing in seven games. The left-handed hitter spent nine seasons with the Mets, where he is equally revered as a player and a humanitarian, but Canadians remember him most from the Expos' first three seasons in the National League. He had some of his best statistical seasons with Detroit.

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Staub would have turned 74 this Sunday. He also served as a team broadcaster.

The Jesuit High School graduate who grew up in the Bywater gained fame playing with the New York Mets in the 1970s.

He is one of four major leaguers, along with Ty Cobb, Gary Sheffield and Alex Rodriguez, to hit home runs in the major leagues both as a teenager and after his 40th birthday. While Staub had a phenomenal career that many felt was deserving of the Hall of Fame, it is evident that what he did off the field made just as big of an impact as his 2,716 career hits.

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