Expos, Mets legend Rusty Staub passes away at 73

Jo Caldwell
March 30, 2018

Rusty Staub, the orange-haired outfielder who became a huge hit with baseball fans in two countries during an All-Star career that spanned 23 major league seasons, died Thursday.

There are conflicting reports on why the Expos traded Staub to the Mets in 1972 for Ken Singleton, Mike Jorgensen and Tim Foli. When he played for the Tigers in 1979, he sat out all of spring training and the first month of the season to try and get a contract extension.

In New York, he ran a foundation that raised more than $100 million for the families of police and firefighters killed or injured while on duty.

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Staub had been battling health issues for years, suffering a heart attack in 2015. By the age of 21, in his third big league season, he was already getting on base at a healthy clip and, over the next few years, his keen eye and gap power allowed him to develop into one of the better bats in the extraordinarily tough National League of the 1960s. However, Staub's impact went well behind the box score. He was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Those fans never did understand the December 1975 trade that sent him to Detroit for beyond-his-prime pitcher Mickey Lolich, and welcomed Staub back when he signed as a free agent in 1980 after a short reprise in Montreal and one season with the Rangers. You know, I do some pretty good work.

His final at-bat came with the Mets in October 1985. "So, I guess I'd better hurry up".

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Staub, who would have celebrated his 74th birthday Sunday, died of multiple organ failure in Palm Beach, Fla., according to The New York Daily News. In addition, he is the only major leaguer in history to achieve 500 hits with four different teams, and, along with Ty Cobb, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield, one of only four players in history to hit home runs in the majors before turning 20 years old after turning 40. Rusty loved NY, and New York loved him back.

In Between, Staub made several appearances on the National League All-Star team.

Staub's career line:.279/.362/.431 with 292 homers, 1,466 RBI and an OPS+ of 124 over 23 years. In January, just a few months before he died, he announced that his foundation had served over nine million meals over the last ten years to the needy of NY.

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