Thursday, March 29, 2018

Mets Legend Rusty Staub Has Died

What a sad start to Opening Day in baseball.
Daniel Joseph “Rusty” Staub was born in New Orleans on April 1, 1944. He signed with the Houston Colt .45s organization in September 1961 out of Jesuit High School. The franchise, which later became the Astros, was preparing along with the Mets to enter the National League the next season as an expansion team.
Staub received his nickname from a nurse shortly after his birth when it was clear he would have a bright red mane. Staub carried that moniker cheerfully through 23 big league seasons.
After playing in the minors, Staub made his debut with Houston in 1963. His breakout season came in 1967, when he batted .333 with a league-leading 44 doubles and was an All-Star for the first time.
He retired after the Mets’ 1985 season with 1,466 runs batted in and a career batting average of .279 to go with his 292 homers and 2,716 hits.
A 6-foot-2 left-hander with a sweet swing weighed 240 pounds late in his career — by then he was a gourmet cook and a restaurant owner — Staub cut an unmistakable figure at the plate.
“He had curly red hair, choked up three inches on his bat, wore his uniform pants high and ran like molasses in winter,” The National Post once said of him.
But he could hit — and play outfield and first base as well. In his 23 seasons, he amassed 2,716 hits and 292 home runs while being named to six All-Star teams.
Staub founded the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund. Founded in 1985, the year he retired, it raised more than $100 million after the 2001 terror attacks.

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