NEW YORK

Mets Legend Rusty Staub Dies on Opening Day

Staub was beloved by fans for his playing and also his charitable work

What to Know

  • Mets legend Rusty Staub has died at age 73, just hours before the team starts the 2018 season
  • Staub had a 23-year playing career and worked the broadcast booth for a decade after that
  • Rusty Staub was also widely known for his charitable work for police and fire widows and for the hungry

Mets legend and philanthropist Rusty Staub has died at age 73, just hours before the team opens up the 2018 season.

"The entire organization sends its deepest sympathy to his family. He will be missed be everyone. #RIPRusty," a Mets tweet said. The team said in a statement he died in a hospital in West Palm Beach after an illness. 

A 23-year veteran and six-time All-Star, Staub remains one of the team's most popular players in history. He played for the Mets from 1972-1975 and again in 1981-1985. 

Staub made his MLB debut with the then-Houston Colt .45's in 1963 and left the Houston Astros in 1969 after being traded to the Montreal Expos. He also had stints with the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers.

He had a batting average of .279 with 2,716 hits, 292 home runs and 1,466 RBIs in all. After his playing career, Staub was a Mets broadcaster for 10 years.

But for many in New York, Daniel J. Staub will be equally remembered for his charitable works.

He started the New York Police and Fire Widow’s and Children’s Benefit Fund Foundation, which has raised more than $150 million for first responders' families. 

His Rusty Staub Foundation separately raised more than $17 million to support emergency food pantries. 

Known as "Le Grand Orange" -- a nickname the redhead picked up during his playing days in Montreal -- Staub survived a serious heart attack on a transatlantic flight in 2015.

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