NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Beloved Mets icon Rusty Staub has died. He was 73.
The former outfielder, designated hitter and first baseman had battled a number of health issues over the years including a recent blood infection that shut down one of his kidneys in January. He also had a near fatal heart attack in 2015.
The New York Mets released the following statement Thursday morning:
“The Mets family suffered another loss earlier today when Daniel ‘Rusty’ Staub passed away in a West Palm Beach Hospital after an illness. He was almost as well known for his philanthropic work as he was for his career as a baseball player, which spanned 23 seasons. There wasn’t a cause he didn’t champion. Rusty helped children, the poor, the elderly and then there was his pride and joy The New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund.
“A six-time All-Star, he is the only player in major league history to have collected as least 500 hits with four different teams. The entire Mets organization sends its deepest sympathy to his brother, Chuck and sisters Sue Tully and Sally Johnson. He will be missed by everyone.”
Archbishop Timothy Dolan said he was moved by the former major leaguers many charitable actions.
“With all of New York, the Archdiocese of New York joins in mourning the passing of our beloved Rusty Staub. Known as a great baseball player and teammate, Rusty was also a great philanthropist, who did so much to support Catholic Charities, Catholic schools, and our Catholic food pantries and food distribution programs. Whenever we were together, he would say, ‘Tell me what you need, Cardinal’ and he would always come through.
“We commend Rusty to the loving mercy of God, consoled by the fact that, as he stands before Our Lord, he will hear, ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat. Well done, good and faithful servant.’ May he rest in peace.”
Staub made his big league debut with the Houston Colt .45’s only eight days after his 19th birthday in 1963. He played for the Colt .45’s, the Astros, the Expos (two stints), the Mets (two stints), the Tigers, and the Rangers. Staub retired as a career .279/.362/.431 hitter with 292 home runs and 2,716 hits.
A six-time All-Star, Staub received MVP votes in seven different seasons, finishing as high as fifth in the voting. He never did win a World Series ring, however. Staub’s only career postseason appearance came with the 1973 Mets, who lost the World Series to the Athletics in seven games.
He spent seven years on the Hall of Fame ballot from 1991-97, but did not receive enough support for induction into Cooperstown.