Rusty Staub, Mets icon, has died at age 73

Mets legend Rusty Staub dead at 73

Mets legend Rusty Staub dead at 73

The former New York Mets slugger died Thursday after an illness at a West Palm Beach hospital, hours before the start of the Major League Baseball season. Unfortunately, the baseball world must give due pause on Thursday morning, as the news of Rusty Staub makes it way around the country. Staub survived a heart attack on a flight from Ireland to NY in October 2015. He was revived on the plane, which returned to Ireland, and Staub was briefly hospitalized before returning home.

He was a key member of the Amazin's 1973 team that lost to the Oakland A's in the World Series.

Staub came up with what was then known as the Houston Colt.45s, later the Astros, in 1963, at the age of 19. He made his Major League Baseball debut in 1963 and remained with the Astros through the 1968 season. While never a below average hitter after 1965, his true coming out party occurred in 1967 when he hit.333/.398/.473 with 44 doubles for the 1967 Astros.

Staub was traded to Detroit in 1976 for Mickey Lolich. Despite his relatively short tenure with the team, Montreal retired his jersey number in 1993; Staub was one of only four players to receive that honor before the franchise was relocated to Washington D.C. beginning in 2005. Staub's given name was Daniel, but he was dubbed "Rusty" because of his red hair.

Staub was selected to five straight All-Star games from 1967-71.

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He played for the Mets from 1972 to 1975, and again from 1981 to 1985.

Staub, also nicknamed "Le Grand Orange" during his time playing for the Montreal Expos, played 23 Major League Baseball seasons, also with the Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers. Despite a promise that he'd be their every day first baseman, Staub spent the last five years of his career as a pinch hitter.

Staub recorded 2,716 hits with 292 home runs and 1,466 RBIs during his career. He drew 1,255 walks and struck out only 888 times in 9,720 at-bats over 2,951 games. Ty Cobb, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield are the others.

Bill Madden of the New York Daily news reported that Staub's foundation, which in 1986 established the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund, distributed more than $11 million in the first 15 years of its existence to the families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and that since the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks the foundation had received more than $112 million in contributions.

Staub also opened two restaurants in Manhattan.

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