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Published: Fri, March 30, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Rusty Staub, Mets icon, has died at age 73

Rusty Staub, Mets icon, has died at age 73

He was traded to the expansion Montreal Expos before the 1969 season and quickly became a fan favorite, learning French and picking up the nickname "Le Grande Orange" for his now-famous locks.

Staub was a hit in NY, helping the Mets to an NL pennant in 1973.

Born Daniel Joseph Staub, the New Orleans native would have turned 74 on Sunday.

In addition to his two stints with the Mets (1972-75, 1981-85) and Montreal Expos (1969-71, 1979), Staub also played for the Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers.

Though he loved Montreal, New York was his baseball home.

Having played for both the Tom Seaver-Bud Harrelson Era Mets and the Dwight Gooden-Keith Hernandez Era Mets, he was inducted into the club's Hall of Fame in 1986.

The Mets asked for prayers earlier this spring, noting that Staub's health was failing, and that they had been in contact with him.

"It's a little mind-boggling that I'm here, considering what went down", Staub told MLB.com that night.

"God wasn't ready for me yet", he said at the time. He was on the Hall of Fame ballot for seven years, though he never got as much as 8% of the vote. A man of extraordinarily high baseball intelligence, he was among the first Astros players to truly appreciate and take advantage of the cavernous confines of the Astrodome, and adjusted his approach to hit to the gaps as opposed to swinging for the fences, despite his considerable power. "It's a sad day for baseball".

His 2,716 career hits are 64th all-time heading into this season, and he is the only player in major league history to have 500 or more hits with four different teams, including the Colt.45s/Astros, Expos, Mets and Tigers.

By the time he retired, Staub had slugged 292 home runs and batted.279 but his accomplishments were not limited to the baseball diamond.

He had 508 hits in only 480 games for Montreal, where his.402 on-base percentage is a franchise record.

Only 11 days after his heart attack - Staub was revived by doctors and nurses aboard the flight as it returned to Ireland - he threw out the first pitch at Citi Field before a Mets playoff victory in 2015.

In 1985 he established The Rusty Staub Foundation which raised millions for families of policemen, firefighters, emergency service, and port authority officers killed in the line of duty.

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