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Mets Hall Of Famer Rusty Staub Remembered At Memorial Mass

April 25, 2018 - 5:13 pm
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A memorial Mass for late, great New York Mets Hall of Famer Rusty Staub was held Wednesday at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

It was pipes and drums fit for a hero -- and that's what he was to so many, 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan presided over the service.

Ceremonial units from the NYPD, FDNY and Port Authority Police Department also participated.

Staub, who was a key supporter of The New York Police and Fire Widows and Children's Benefit Fund died March 29 at the age of 73.

In his Homily, Monsigneur Kevin Sullivan said Rusty can bypass Cooperstown because he has made God's Hall of Fame in Heaven, Jones reported.

Affectionately dubbed "Le Grand Orange,'' Staub was a six-time All-Star and the only player in major league history to have at least 500 hits with four teams. He became a huge hit with fans in the U.S. and Canada, most adored in New York and Montreal.

A savvy, reliable slugger with left-handed power and a discerning eye, Staub played from 1963 to 1985 and finished 284 hits shy of 3,000. He had 31/2 great seasons with the Detroit Tigers and batted .300 for the Texas Rangers in 1980. 
 
He broke into the majors as a teenager with Houston, lasted into his 40s with the Mets and spent decades doing charity work in the New York area.
 
"There wasn't a cause he didn't champion,'' the Mets said. 

A savvy, reliable slugger with left-handed power and a discerning eye, Staub played from 1963 to 1985 and finished 284 hits shy of 3,000. He had 31/2 great seasons with the Detroit Tigers and batted .300 for the Texas Rangers in 1980. 
 
He broke into the majors as a teenager with Houston, lasted into his 40s with the Mets and spent decades doing charity work in the New York area.
 
"There wasn't a cause he didn't champion,'' the Mets said. 


 
He owned and operated two popular Manhattan restaurants that bore his name, and authored a children's book titled ``Hello, Mr. Met!''
 
Staub was the first star for the expansion Montreal Expos in 1969, embraced by French-Canadian fans at Parc Jarry who appreciated that he learned their language. 
 
He made three straight All-Star teams with Montreal and hit a career-high 30 home runs for the last-place Expos in 1970. Though he spent only three full seasons in Montreal, plus a 38-game reunion in 1979, his No. 10 became the first uniform jersey retired by the team in 1993.
 
Long after the Expos moved to Washington and were renamed the Nationals before the 2005 season, he remains one of the most beloved players in franchise history.
 
Staub was traded to the Mets in 1972 and one year later helped lead them to a surprising National League pennant. Spurred by a now-famous rallying cry from reliever Tug McGraw -- "Ya Gotta Believe!'' -- the Mets upset heavily favored Cincinnati, with Staub socking three home runs in the first four games of their best-of-five NL playoff.
 
Staub separated his right shoulder when he crashed hard into the outfield wall to make a fantastic catch in the 11th inning of Game 4. He sat out Tom Seaver's decisive win in Game 5 and missed the World Series opener against Oakland, yet returned to the lineup the following game.


 
Barely able to make weak, underhand throws during the Series, he still batted .423 with a home run, two doubles and six RBIs as New York lost in seven games. In all, Staub hit .341 with 11 RBIs in his only postseason, a clutch and gritty performance that endeared him to Mets fans forever.
 
In 1975, he became the first Mets player to drive in 100 runs in a season, setting a club record with 105 that wasn't broken until 1990.
 
New York traded Staub to Detroit in December 1975 and he made his final All-Star team with the Tigers in 1976. He had 121 RBIs and finished fifth in AL MVP voting in `78, becoming the first major leaguer to play all 162 games in a season at designated hitter.
 
Staub re-signed with the Mets before the 1981 season and was a player-coach for them in '82. Late in his career, often sporting black batting gloves and choking way up on the bat, he became one of baseball's best pinch-hitters, tying an NL record in 1983 with eight consecutive pinch-hits and equaling a major league mark with 25 pinch-hit RBIs.
 
His final season was 1985, one year before the Mets won the World Series. After spending nine seasons with New York, he was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in `86 and when he was honored at Shea Stadium, smiling ex-teammates such as Keith Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry wore long, orange wigs for the on-field ceremony.
 
Staub worked as an announcer on Mets television broadcasts from 1986-95. He was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.
 
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. 
 
"It's a little mind-boggling that I'm here, considering what went down,'' Staub told MLB.com that night. "I mean, I was tap dancing in front of Saint Peter. He could have taken me easily. But maybe he had some more good for me to do. You know, I do some pretty good work. And I don't know how much time I've got. So I guess I better hurry up.''
 
The next April, he was on hand again to help raise the NL championship banner.
 
At the end of his distinguished career, Staub founded the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund. The charity has raised tens of millions of dollars and provided additional support to families of first responders killed in the line of duty.
 
Following the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 2001, Mets players and coaches donated their entire salaries from their first game back, about $450,000, to Staub's foundation.
 
Staub also has helped serve up meals to thousands of hungry and homeless people at food pantries all over New York City through Catholic Charities, with funds from his annual golf tournament and wine auction dinner.
 
"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,'' the Mets said.
 
Born and raised in New Orleans, Daniel Joseph Staub was called Rusty because of his bright red hair. He made his major league debut with the Houston Colt .45s in 1963, eight days after his 19th birthday, and led the NL with 44 doubles in 1967 for the renamed Astros, earning his first All-Star selection.
 
Playing mostly right field and some first base, too, Staub retired with a .279 career average, 292 home runs and 1,466 RBIs. 
 
He was the only player with at least 500 hits for four teams (Astros, Expos, Mets and Tigers) and he joins Ty Cobb, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield as the lone players to homer in the majors before age 20 and after 40.
 
Staub had a .362 career on-base percentage. He drew 1,255 walks and struck out only 888 times in 9,720 at-bats over 2,951 games.
 
He appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot seven times, never receiving more than 7.9 percent of the vote. He dropped off after getting 3.8 percent in 1997.
 
He is survived by brother Chuck and sisters Sue Tully and Sally Johnson. 

Staub spent 23 seasons in the big leagues; he is the only major league player in history to compile 500 hits with four different teams. He's also one of just four players to homer before th age of 20 and after the age of 40. During a stint in Montreal he earned the nickname Le Grand Orange.

The former Met was also known as a humanitarian. The Rusty Staub Foundation established the New York Police and Fire Widows and Children's Benefit Fund. The organization has raised over $112-million in contributions since the September 11 attacks.

Staub was born Daniel Joseph Staub on April 1, 1944 in New Orleans. It was his red hair that earned him the nickname Rusty, before he even left the hospital.

He made his big league debut after a single season of minor league ball, batting cleanup for the Colt 45s on opening day.

In 1973, when the Mets rallied to win the National League pennant Staub hit .279 with 15 homeruns, and 76 RBI, adding another 4 homers in post-season games against the Reds and A's.