Mar 31, 2019

Remembering Mets History (1973): World Series Game #4 -Rusty Staub HRs With Five RBIs To Even Series

Wednesday October 17th 1973: World Series Game #4- Shea Stadium, New York





Mets Game Four Winner: Jon Matlack
The Mets were coming off another tough loss in Game #3, going down 3-2 in extra innings as they were down two games to one in the series.

But they felt like they should have won both of the games had a bad break gone their way instead of against them. They knew they could play with the mighty reigning World Champion A's, so there was much excitement heading into Game #4.

The controversial A's, were always use to drama & heading into this game things were no different. A's infielder; Mike Andrews had been deactivated by owner Charlie Finley on Sunday, being placed on the disabled list after making two errors in the Mets win.

Mike Andrews
His team mates, Marvin Miller head of the Players Union, & the baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn all stepped in on Andrews' behalf. Andrews was then reactivated, flew to New York & was in full uniform at Shea Stadium tonight.

Before the Game NBC broadcaster; Tony Kubek interviewed Tom Seaver & catfish Hunter together at the same time. They spoke negatively about Charlie Finley, agreeing the fans come to see the players not the owners.

On the World Series pregame show; "the Baseball World of Joe Garagiola", Reggie Jackson sat with Joe Garagiola talking about the situation as well. Jackson even agreed when asked "Is it True you asked to be traded"? he replied with a big smile " I sure did".  

An official crowd of 54,817 came out to Shea Stadium to cheer on the Mets, on a chilly Wednesday night in New York. Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher; Nelson Briles sang the National Anthem & Bill Shea; who Shea Stadium was named after threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The A's Wives
The A's wives were seated in the first row of the temporary VIP seats on the third base line tonight, after having been seated in the upper level for Game #3.

Gene Tenace & other A's players were vocal about their unhappiness & the Mets organization responded. The starters were a rematch of Game Ones left handed pitchers; Jon Matlack vs. Ken Holtzman.

Starting Lineups

Oakland Athletics       New York Mets
1Bert CampanerisSS1Wayne Garrett3B
2Joe RudiLF2Felix Millan2B
3Sal Bando3B3Rusty StaubRF
4Reggie JacksonCF4Cleon JonesLF
5Gene Tenace1B5John Milner1B
6Jesus AlouRF6Jerry GroteC
7Ray FosseC7Don HahnCF
8Dick Green2B8Bud HarrelsonSS
9Ken HoltzmanP9Jon Matlack

Rusty's Big Night
In the top of the 1st inning, Campy Campaneris attempted a lead off bunt base hit, but John Milner made the play for the first out.  With two out Matlack walked Sal Bando but struck out Reggie Jackson for the third out.

The Mets took care of business right away in the home 1st inning. Third baseman; Wayne Garrett led off with a single, followed by a Felix Millan bunt base hit down third base.

Then sore shoulder & all; Rusty Staub blasted a three run HR to the opposite field in left center, putting the Mets up 3-0. The Shea Faithful came alive as the legendary sign man held up a sign that read "Far Out".
 





Bud Harrelson's Base Hit
Although they got two more base runners & knocked Holtzman out of the game, they failed to score again in the inning. John Blue Moon Odom came in & pitched into the 4th inning. In the home 4th; Don Hahn & Buddy Harrelson both singled to lead off the inning.

Odom was removed for Darold Knowles. Knowles struck out Matlack but then hit Wayne Garrett with a pitch.

Felix Millan reached on an error by Dick Green at second base that scored Don Hahn making it 4-0.

The hero of the night; Rusty Staub then drove a base hit to right field scoring Harrelson & Garrett to make it 6-1.

Staub had one of the biggest offensive nights in Mets World Series history, collecting four hits (4-4) with a HR, five RBIs & a walk. It was all Matlack needed as he rolled along pitching eight innings, one run that was unearned on just three hits.




Matlack Allows One Run on Three Hits In Eight Innings
The A's sole run came in the 4th, as Sal Bando reached on a Wayne Garrett error at third. Reggie Jackson then singled to center sending Bando to third.

Gene Tenace then grounded out to Harrelson at short, as Bando crossed the plate with the A's only run. Matlack walked just two batters & struck out five.

In three 1973 post season games; Jon Matlack had not allowed as earned in 23 innings of work. He had allowed just nine hits, seven walks & struck out 17 batters posting a 2-1 record.

Jerry Grote Safe At Home
In the home 7th, with one out Jerry Grote drove a base hit to center field. He advanced to second when Don Hahn grounded out.

Pitcher Jon Matlack then got a base hit of his own, but Joe Rudi threw Jerry Grote out at home plate.

In the 8th inning, Dick Williams sent up the now infamous Mike Andrews to pinch hit to lead off the inning.


He was greeted by the Shea Stadium fans with a standing ovation, a sign of affection as much as sending an in your face message to Charlie Finley. Finley took it in stride waving an A's banner in the box seats.

Jerry Grote Congratulates
Ray Sadecki After Mets Win
Ray Sadecki closed out the game, making his third appearance in the World Series, while earning his first save.

Every Met in tonight's line up, except for John Milner, had at least one hit in the Mets 13 hit attack on the night.

Second to Rusty Staub's big four hit night, Jerry Grote had himself a three hit night. The World Series was now all tied up at two games each & things were very exciting for Mets fans.


Quotes: Rusty Staub- "To be able to have the kind of Fourth game I had, with the our hits & the HR, it just made me feel real good that I did the right thing to get in the line up.

To be part of what a World Series is & be part of a championship team has just been the greatest thrill of my entire life, it really has".




1973 NL Champion Mets Star- Rusty Staub: The Seventies Mets Years (1972-1975)



The New York Mets needed a bat badly after the 1971 season, and Montreal needed to fill some position players with young solid talent. In the off season & as late as Spring Training Gil Hodges was after Rusty Staub. He wanted him bad & even told Staub about during a March exhibition game.

The two teams got together and made a blockbuster trade, just before the start of the 1972 season.

On April 6, 1972, four days after Gil Hodges fatal heart attack, Staub was Traded to the Mets in exchange for Ken Singleton, Tim Foli, & Mike Jorgensen. This turned out to be a good trade for both teams. Rusty was a true hitter with power, who would find a home in the middle of the Mets lineup for the next four years.


Rusty Staub arrived in New York City with a lot of fanfare & hope for adding punch to the Mets lineup. On Opening Day 1972 he was the Mets right fielder, batting cleanup in between Tommie Agee & Cleon Jones. He went 1-3 with a walk that rainy afternoon in his debut where the Mets beat the Pirates 4-0 behind Tom Seaver. Prior to that game the Mets honored Gil Hodges & retired his uniform #14.

Before the weeks first home stand was over, Staub would have two three hit games, both coming against the Chicago Cubs and was already hitting .350. His first Mets HR came in San Diego off Padres pitcher Fred Norman, on April 27th.

Early on he had three different four hit games, and was adjusting well to New York. On Mother’s Day May 14th, in front of a Shea crowd of 35,000, Willie Mays, made a triumphant return to New York City, this time in a Mets uniform against his old San Francisco Giants team mates. Staub gave the Mothers in attendance an early treat; hitting a 1st inning grand slam HR off Sudden Sam Mcdowell. Later Mays hit a 5th inning HR that sent the Shea crowd into a wild frenzy, especially since it proved to be the game winner.

In mid June Staub was batting .307 and the Mets were atop the NL East ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates. As luck would have it, in a game against the Atlanta Braves on June 14th , future Met pitcher George Stone hit Rusty with a pitch on his right hand. Staub, who missed only seven games in the previous four seasons, attempted to play through the pain but x-rays showed a break. He would miss 90 games the rest of the way and the Mets post season hopes were put to rest.

It was the first major injury of his career. He returned to the line up in late September going 7-30 with two RBIs in nine games. In his first Met season Staub only played in 66 games batting .293 with nine HRs, eleven doubles, 31 walks, a .372 on base % (second on the club to Wayne Garrett) & 38 RBIs.

In 1973 Rusty became one of the team’s leaders & most clutch position player. He struggled early on not getting his average over .200 until the beginning of May. On April 25th he hit his first & second HRs of the season, both solo shots against his old team the Houston Astros. Staub had only driven in one run up to that point & was still only batting .155. He began to get hot from that point, hitting safely in 20 of the next 22 ball games.

On May 3rd he hit a grand slam HR off the Cincinnati Reds Tom Hall (a future Met) at Shea Stadium. On May 24th he had five hits in a 19 inning game at Dodger Stadium in a Mets 7-3 win over Los Angeles. It was Staub’s double that broke the 3-3 tie in the top of the 19th inning, as the Mets went on to score four runs, after five hours & 45 minutes of play. He picked up 17 RBIs that month, while raising his average 100 points by June.

On June 9th in front of 47,000 fans at Shea Stadium, Staub put the Mets on the board first with a two run double in the first inning off the Dodgers Al Downing. In the 8th inning he added another RBI double off Doug Rau leading Jon Matlack to a complete game 4-2 win. In June he had ten multi hit games and brought his average up near .290 by the end of the month.

Staub helped the Mets avoid a four game sweep in Montreal when he cracked a bases loaded single off relief ace Mike Marshall tying the game in the 6th inning. He had homered earlier in the game as New York went on to win it 7-3. In a two game stretch at Atlanta that July, he hit three HRs driving in seven runs while scoring four more runs.

On that July 18th day he dove in five runs in the Mets 12-2 win, giving Tom Seaver his tenth win of the year. By the All Star break he was hitting .280 and had 10 HRs with 47 RBIs way ahead of most Mets players.

He had two eight game hit streaks in August; one led him right into the September stretch drive. On the 27th of August he hit another grand slam at Shea Stadium, this one against Steve Arlin & the San Diego Padres to lift the Mets over the Padres 6-5.

He was one of the few regulars that season who didn’t suffer an injuries or land on the DL. Staub was always clutch, when the Mets needed him in the big games. He went into early September with a nine game hit streak, and in the final month hit safely in 23 of 28 games.

He finished up with 35 hits batting well over .300 that month, and a ending the regular season with a 15 game hit streak. He hit four HRs with 16 RBIs & ten extra base hits in the incredible Mets September run to catch the NL East title.

On September 11th he hit two HRs & drove in four of the Mets five runs at Philadelphia, although it was a losing effort. On September 18th, he set the tone with an early two run HR against the first place Pirates at Pittsburgh. The Mets would win the game 6-5 and although they were in a tight race in fourth place, were just 2 1/2 games behind the Pirates. The Mets returned home to Shea and swept series with both the Pirates & the Cardinals, as Staub hit safley in every game. He added a two run HR against the Pirates in the final game of that series sweep.

1973 NL East Clinching: In the last regular season series, it was off to Chicago at Wrigley Field for a four game set against the Cubs. After three straight rain outs, the Mets clinched at least a tie of the NL East, winning the second game of a double header.

In that game Staub went 3-5 with three RBIs, and two runs scored. He singled in the first inning & scored along with Wayne Garrett on when Cleon Jones reached base on an error.

In the 7th, he singled off Fergie Jenkins scoring Garrett, then drove in two runs with a double in the top of the 9th inning sealing the Mets 9-2 win. In the final game clinching the NL East on the last day of the season, Rusty had four hits (4 -5) driving in a run and scoring a run.
 
For the season he led the '73 team in RBIs (76) on base percentage (.361) walks (74) & set a club record with 36 doubles. He finished up second on the club in HRs (15) hits (163) batting average (.279) games played (152) & slugging (.421%).

Defensively, Staub was one of the league’s best out fielders, nailing 17 assists from the outfield, second best in the NL among all outfielders. He was also second in put outs & third in games played while posting a .978 fielding %.

1973 Post Season:
NLCS: In the 1973 NLCS, Rusty played a huge role in the Mets' upset over the NL Western Champion Cincinnati Reds. Although he only batted .200 (3 -15) all his hits were HRs & he drove in five big runs as well. In the Mets Game #1 loss at Cincinnati he went 0-2 but did draw two walks.

In Game #2 he put the Mets on the board first with a solo HR off Don Gullett in the 4th inning, the Mets went on to win it behind Jon Matlack's two hit shutout.

It was after that game that Mets short stop Bud Harrelson made the comment that the Reds looked like him out there hitting today. These words angered the Reds & at batting practice before Game #3 at Shea Stadium Joe Morgan confronted Harrelson about what he had said. Staub jumped in to cool things off between the two, but Morgan said Pete Rose was still fuming.

In the classic Game #3 at Shea Stadium, Staub hit a 1st inning solo HR off Reds pitcher Ross Grimsley.

In the 2nd inning, Jerry Grote walked & Don Hahn singled. With one out Jerry Koosman singled to load the bases. Wyne Garret hit a sac fly & Felix Millan Singled making it a quick 3-0 Mets. Staub came up with two aboard & blasted a three run shot off Grimsley once again, putting the Mets ahead 6-0. Shea Stadium was going crazy as the 1973 version of the Amazing Mets were smelling another World Series. 

His big day at the plate, was overshadowed when in the 5th inning Pete Rose, still fuming about the Harrelson comments the previous game & even more upset at the score of the game, went after Harrelson with a pop up cheap shot slide at second base to break up a double play.

What followed was the now legendary epic Bud Harrelson / Pete Rose bench clearing brawl, one of the most famous in post season history. Staub was one of the Mets who had to walk out to left field when play was suspended, to plead with Mets fans to stop throwing debris on the field at Pete Rose so the game would not be forfeited.

In Game #4, Staub made two spectacular defensive plays with his glove. The first came early on saving two runs from scoring for pitcher George Stone.


The game went into extra innings & in the top of the 11th, Staub robbed the Reds Dan Driessen of an extra-base hit while crashing into the right field wall to make the catch. He fell to the ground, injuring his shoulder. The Mets lost the game & a decisive Game #5 was necessary. Bad new for the Mets was that Staub could not play in the clincher.

The Mets certainly inspired by Staub, beat the Reds 7-2 in Game #5, with a thirteen hit attack behind the pitching of Cy Young winner & future Hall of famer; Tom Seaver, as they went on to win the 1973 NL Pennant.

1973 World Series: In the World Series against the Oakland A's, Rusty again led his team with both motivation & production. He took cortisone shots for his shoulder, but still had to miss starting in the World Series opener. He did make a pinch hit appearance, late in the game, going 0-1.

He was back in the lineup for Game #2 playing in pain and unable to pull the ball with any power. In right field he was forced to throw underhand due to the sore shoulder, giving the A's a big advantage. He went 1-5 in that game as the Mets went on to win it 10-7 in extra innings.

As the Series moved back to Shea Stadium, Rusty was feeling much better. In Game #3 he singled off the A's Catfish Hunter in the 1st inning but was left stranded on second base.

In the 9th inning with two outs & the score tied 2-2 he just missed a walk off game winning HR, and had to settle for a ground rule double. The A's caught a huge break. Oakland pitcher Paul Lindblad intentionally walked Cleon Jones & got John Milner to fly out to right field. Rusty was once again left stranded on second base, the A's went on to win it in the 11th inning 3-2.


In Game #4 Rusty Staub had one of the best Mets post season offensive games ever, in the bottom of the 1st inning leadoff man Wayne Garrett & Felix Millan both singled. Staub came up & blasted a three run HR, off Oakland's Ken Holtzman, sending Shea Stadium into frenzy, as the Mets took an early 3-0 lead.

In the 4th inning with two men on, he singled off A's reliever Blue Moon Odom, driving in Bud Harrelson & Wayne Garret giving the Mets a 6-1 lead.

He was the big hero of the night collecting four hits, with a walk, a HR & five RBIs setting a Mets record that still stands today for RBI's in a post season game. Staub is the only Met to have that many RBIs in a World Series game. He led the Mets to the 6-1 win. The 1973 World Series was now tied at two games apiece.

In Game #5 Staub would single n the 5th inning  & later draw a walk. The Mets went on to a 2-0 win behind Jerry Koosman (6.1 innings) & Tug McGraw (2.2 innings) combined shut out. The Mets were one game away from the Championship.

As the Series shifted back to Oakland for Game #6, Staub singled in the 1st inning but was left stranded on base along with Wayne Garrett on second as Cleon Jones & John Milner were retired. The Mets were shut down the rest of the way by Oakland pitchers Catfish Hunter, Darold Knowles & Rollie Fingers, taking a 3-1 loss.

In the final Game #7, Staub got two hits including an RBI double off Ken Holtzman in the 6th inning although the Mets were already down 5-0. It was a tough loss after the team had come from so far down, being in last place as late as August.

Despite his shoulder injury, Staub played in all seven World Series games. He had more hits than any player on either team (11) & led all players (who had three or more at bats) in batting average (.423) & slugging (.615%).

He & Series MVP Reggie Jackson led all players with six RBIs. Staub also drew two walks and hit a pair of doubles.He only scored one run in all those times Had the Mets won the World Series, Staub may have very well been named the Series MVP & certainly should have been considered for the Series MVP in a losing role.


What was it like playing for Yogi Berra? "Yogi's a great guy. Yogi never gave up. When you hear that comment, 'It ain't over 'til it's over,' well, that's Yogi. He tried to encourage everybody, and he's a special guy. One thing about Yogi - you can be walking down the street, and it's like the Pope. Everyone knows Yogi and loves him.”

In 1974 after the NL Champion flag was raised at Shea Stadium, Staub had a good second week of April. He drove in runs in five of six games & hit two HRs. He hit .296 that first month driving in ten runs including a three RBI day against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on April 29th. He started out early May hitting HRs in three straight games, and finished up with seven for the month.

On May 4th he hit a three run HR in the bottom of the 7th inning off an Diego's Randy Jones, leading the Mets to a come from behind win. The next week he hit HRs in back to back games at Chicago's Wrigley Field, driving in five runs. He would drive in ten runs overall from May 11th through May 18th. He put together a nine game hit streak in June and drove in 13 runs that month.

On June 20th he doubled home both Mets runs in Philadelphia leading Jerry Koosman to a 2-1 in over Dick Ruthven. He came back & hit HRs in the next two games as well. At the All Star break he already had 13 HRs, and although he was hitting for more average in the second half, his power numbers went down. He would only hit six more HRs in the second half.
 
In August he had a big month, driving in twenty runs hitting safely in all but just six games the entire month. From August 10th - August 19th he drove in runs in six of eight games, including a walk off game winning single against the N.L.’s top reliever, the Dodgers Mike Marshall on August 14th. On August 24th he drove in four runs against the Astros at Houston lading the Mets to a 10-2 win.

Staub slumped in September as his average fell from above .280 to a season ending .258. For the 5th place 1974 Mets he played in 155 games, leading the team in hits (146) RBIs (78) at bats (561) on base percentage (.347%) & intentional walks (12). He also hit 19 HRs with 22 doubles & 79 runs scored.

Defensively he was one of the league’s top out fielders, leading the league in assists (19) & games (147) posting a .982 fielding % (third best in the NL).

In 1975 he once again led the NL with 15 assists in right field & in games played (153) He posted a .985 field % (third in the NL) & was third in put outs as well.

But it was his run production that stood out most this season, as Staub set a Mets record (at that time) driving in 105 runs (4th best in the NL). He became the first Met player to drive in 100 runs and his single season RBI record would stand for 13 seasons, until 1987.

He began by driving in a run on the Opening Day 3-2 loss to the Phillies & then hit his first HR the next day. On April 17th he drove in three runs with two doubles in a wild 14-7 Mets win at St. Louis. On April 23rd when the Cardinals came to St. Louis he hit a grand slam HR off Bob Gibson leading that seasons CY Young winner Tom Seaver, to victory. Staub drove in runs in six straight games & by the end of April he already had 16 RBIs among the best in the N.L., hitting near .300.

In the middle of May he hit HRs in back to games, first leading the Mets to a a 5-1 win over the San Francisco Giants with a three RBI day at Shea. He then went on the road & drove in two runs in three different games during a four game stretch.

In the last two weeks of May he drove in 15 runs, going on another hot streak keeping his average above .300 & his on base % at .412%. In June his average dropped to .263 but he did still drive in 19 runs. On a road trip for the week of July 6th he hit four HRs driving in seven runs overall.
 
By the All Star break had 59 RBIs among the top run producers in the National League. He went into & out of the All Star break with a ten game hit streak & during his first game back hit a two run HR in Atlanta off Phil Neikro. Staub had a good August driving in twenty more runs, as the Mets made a run for the pennant but soon faded away through September, finishing third.

On September 18th, 1975 he hit a two run HR off Chicago's Donnie Moore, giving him his 100 & 101 RBIs on the season, becoming the first Met to do so. At the end of the 1975 season Staub raised his batting average 24 points from the previous year, up to .282.

In 155 games played he hit 19 HRs, with 30 doubles, 93 runs scored, & a .371 on base percentage. In addition to his 105 RBIs Staub also led the team in walks (77) & intentional walks (14) which was fourth best in the league.

After the 1975 season, Mets management made another debacle of a decision, trading Staub to the AL Detroit Tigers for veteran, washed up pitcher Mickey Lolich. As the ball club was starting to change for the worse in the dawn of free agency, Staub became another piece of the '73 Pennant team that was dealt. Tug McGraw had been traded to start a new career in Philadelphia where he continued to thrive.

Staub was the club's biggest run producer, a clutch player & a fan favorite, as well as a high profile New Yorker. He had just set a Mets RBI mark (that would stand 15 years), being the first player to drive in 100 runs in team history.

In one of the worst trades ever in Mets history, Rusty was sent to Detroit with pitcher Bill Laxton for over the hill, over weight pitcher Mickey Lolich and outfielder Billy Baldwin.

Mar 30, 2019

Rusty Staub: The Eighties Mets Years (1980-1985) & Beyond

RUSTY STAUB 1980-2018 : In December of 1980 Staub returned to New York signing back with the New York Mets as a free agent. On Opening Day 1981 he was the Mets first baseman batting in the fifth position, at Wrigley Field hitting a HR in his Mets return. Le Grand Orange became a popular player at Shea once again, adding to his Mets legacy in a new era.

He drove in runs in four straight games that April, finishing the month batting .320. On May 1st he hit a to run HR against the San Diego Padres in a 4-2 Mets loss.

On June 9th he had a two run pinch hit single against the Cincinnati Reds at Shea Stadium. On October 1st he hit a two run HR in a game against the Chicago Cubs that ended in a rare official 2-2 tie. He played in 41 games for the Mets at first base and another 29 as a pinch hitter, playing in 70 games overall. He batted .317 (his career best) with five HRs nine doubles & 21 RBIs.

In 1982 he had a pinch hit Opening Day RBI single in the Mets 7-2 win over Steve Carlton & the Phillies. On May 9th he hit a walk off pinch hit HR against Greg Minton & the San Francisco Giants lifting the Mets to a 6-5 win. On September 28th he ended an extra inning game with a bottom of the 10th inning RBI single scoring Brian Giles to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2.

That season Rusty served as a player / coach, playing in 112 games at first base, corner outfielder & as a pinch hitter. He hit .242 with three HRs nine doubles & 27 RBIs in 219 at bats.

By 1983, Staub was mostly used as a pinch hitter, a role in which he excelled in. He became one of the league’s best pinch hitters, setting many records. He batted .296 on the season, tied a National League record with eight straight pinch-hits and tied an MLB record of 25 RBIs in the pinch hitting role.

In May he drove in runs in three straight games, two of them where he got starts playing at first base. He then had a pinch hit RBI single on May 4th against the Houston Astros & another four days later against the Reds.

In mid June he beat Cubs reliever Lee Smith with a bottom of the 9th game winning pinch hit single. In the week of June 7th- June 14th he had successful pinch hits in six of seven games driving in seven runs. In July he was still batting .350 & on the 14th hit a two run pinch hit HR against former Met Charlie Puleo helping Tom Seaver to a Mets victory, like the old days.

On August 21st, Staub had a pinch hit double off Giant's veteran Jim Barr which drove in two runs & helped New York to a 4-2 win. On the last day of the 1983 season Rusty Staub's two-run pinch double with two out in the bottom of the 9th gives the Mets a dramatic 5–4 win over the Montreal Expos, to end the season. Staub finished with a .296 batting average, a .371 on base % three HRs, six doubles & 28 RBIs.

In 1984 the Mets were battling for the NL East crown and Staub again was a key pinch hitter.

He began the year 5-11 in a pinch hitting role, batting .455 with one RBI. At the end of June he was still batting .357 excelling in the pinch hit role at the age of 40. On August 29th he broke a 1-1 tie doubling off the Dodgers Ken Howell scoring Mookie Wilson. The Mets went on to win the game 3-2, getting to just 5 1/2 games out of first place.

On September 25, 1984 at Shea Stadium, Staub hit a two run 9th inning walk off HR to beat the Phillies 6-4. In that dramatic win he became only the second player in history to homer both as a teenager and after the age of 40. Ty Cobb did it first & Gary Sheffield would later do it as a Met in 2009. He hit .264 (19-78) with 1 HR 4 doubles & 18 RBIs.

1985 would be Staub’s last season as a player, now overweight at the age of 41. In an 18 inning April game the Mets were forced to use Staub on the field as Davey Johnson was running out of position players. Rusty made a game saving catch down the right field line in the 11th inning off Pittsburgh's pinch hitter, Rick Rhoden. Rusty said he fined Davey Johnson $5 in the Mets kangaroo court for “trying to embarrass a player to the whole world.”

On June 1st he singled in the 7th inning off San Diego's Luis DeLeon driving in a run in the Mets 5-3 win over the Padres. On September 1st the Mets were behind to the San Francisco Giants 3-1 in the top of the 9th inning. Staub hit a pinch hit double to drive in Howard Johnson & then scored on Keith Hernandez two run game winning HR.

On September 7th he got his last RBI pinch hit, it came against the Pirates at Shea Stadium. The next day in a game in which I attended on a Saturday afternoon, he got his final career pinch hit, a single off Ray Krawczyk. He then scored the final run of his career (run #1189) when Wally Backman drove him home in a 12-1 Mets romp, Dwight Gooden's 22nd victory of the year. Rusty finished out his last season with a respectable .267 average, hitting a HR, with three doubles and eight RBIs in 45 at bats posting a .400 on base %.

Mets Career: In his long baseball career Rusty Staub played nine seasons with the Mets, he is among the All Time Mets leaders in many categories. His 37 sacrifice flies are eighth on the Mets all time list. His 942 games played are 13th most in Mets history.
His .357 on base % is 12th on Mets all time list, his 130 doubles are 17th & his 333 walks are sixteenth most in Mets history. His 399 RBIs are twelfth, his 709 hits are eighteenth , his 2571 at bats are 13th most & his 75 HRs are twenty third.

Staub batted .276  as a NY Met with 296 runs scored as well.

MLB CAREER: Overall in his 23 year career Rusty is 13th all time in games played (2951). He has 2,716 hits (62nd most hits all time) 838 extra base hits (96th all time) 292 HRs (144th all time), 499 doubles (62nd all time), 47 triples, 1466 RBIs (58th all time) & 1255 walks (51st all time).

He batted .279 with a .362 on base % and he only struck out 888 times in 9720 at bats (36th most at bats all time). His 119 sac flies are 8th most all time, his 193 career intentional walks are 17th most all time & his 79 hit by pitches are 165th on the all time list.

Staub was known as one of the slowest runners of his era, especially after he turned 30. In his last 1,268 games Rusty attempted just 16 steals, but was successful actually 12 times. He is also 11th all time in grounding into double plays with 297.

Trivia: He ended his career as the only major league player to have 500 hits with four different teams. (Houston Astros, Montreal Expos, New York Mets, and Detroit Tigers).

Why Not the Hall of Fame? The question whether Staub belongs in the Hall of Fame is an interesting one. First off he is the only player in MLB history to get 500 hits with four different teams. He has 2951 career games played, and every player with 2750 has gotten into the Hall (except for Pete Rose ). He has 1466 RBIs and up to the "steroid age" every player with 1400 RBI has gone into the Hall of Fame. He has 499 doubles, and every player with 499 or more doubles has gone into the Hall as well. 

On the other hand, Staub hasn't reached any of the obvious markers of Hall of Fame qualification - he hasn't gotten to 3000 hits (falling 284 shorts with 2716) or 500 home runs, and he never won an MVP award or led the league in any major batting category. In 1978 he was second in the AL with 121 RBIs.

Still, the most similar player to Staub using the same philosophy, is Tony Perez, who did get in. And how does Barry Larkin & Roberto Alomar to name a few more recent players get in with some worse numbers than Satub's. Staub was considered by the BBWAA, but his highest vote total was only 8%. It will be up to the Veterans Committee as to whether Staub ever gets in.

Rusty's On Fifth Restaurant: Shortly after his arrival in New York City in the 1970s, he opened "Rusty's," a Cajun-style restaurant on the upper east side of Manhattan, known for its annual rib-eating contest. For years, Staub a gourmet chef himself operated Rusty’s On Fifth.

As a player he'd often embarrass teammates who joined him for dinner on the road by sending his meal back two or three times until the chef got it right to Rusty’s taste.

Retirement: Staub worked as a broadcaster for Mets games for ten years from 1986 through 1995, working on WOR Channel 9, WPIX Channel 11, Sports Channel, & Fox Sports New York. Staub has been employed by the Mets since 2000 as the Clubs team ambassador representing the team at charitable & civic events. Rusty can be seen at Citi Field frequently visiting with corporate sponsors, charities & school groups & celebrities.

Rusty was on hand for the twentieth anniversary of the 1973 NL Pennant winners in 1993. He was at the closing ceremonies of Shea Stadium in 2008, & on hand for both Ralph Kiner & Bob Murphy tribute nights.

Rusty Staub Foundation: As a  humanitarian, he established the "Rusty Staub Foundation" for charitable works. In 1986 he founded the "New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund."

During its first 15 years of existence, the Fund raised and distributed $11 million for families of policemen and firefighters killed in the line of duty. Since September 11, 2001, Staub's organization has received contributions in excess of $115 million, and has played a vital role in helping many families affected by the 911 tragedy.

Honors: In 1986 his former Mets team mates honored Staub by wearing long red wigs & inducting him in the NY Mets team Hall of Fame, on “Rusty Staub Day”.

His uniform number 10 was retired by the Montreal Expos while the team was in Canada & was he was also inducted into the Texas Hall of Fame in 2006 for his time in Houston.

Trivia: The bat he used in his 1985 for record setting eight straight pinch hits, is in Cooperstown on display at the Hall of Fame.

In 2004, he received an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree from Niagara University. At the Jesuit High School in New Orleans, from where Rusty graduated, the school annually gives out the Rusty Staub Award to the leader of the varsity baseball team.


Health Issue: As the 2015 Mets were enjoying a return to the post season Rusty Staub suffered a heart attack while on a plane to New York from Ireland. The plane was rerouted back to Ireland & Staub was taken to hospital. He recovered & threw out the first pitch of Game #3 of the NLDS against the L.A. Dodgers. 

The following year on Opening Day he joined John Franco & Edgardo Alfonzo in raising the NL Championship flag on Opening Day at Citi Field.

Passing: In Winter of 2018 Staub was placed in the hospital as his kidneys were failing as well as other issues. On Opening Day 2018, March 29th, Staub passed away at age 73 in West Palm Beach Florida.


His good friend Keith Hernandez broke down during an Opening Day press conference "It's a tough day, he was the one that got me to live in the city. When I came at the start of the season in '84, I was single, he said "we'll you got to live in the city". He was the one that introduced me to the city & all it had to offer. He's just been a great friend. But he was in a lot of pain. He's in a better place."

Tom Seaver: "So sad, Rusty was a close, close friend. Great teammate. He visited me often out here in the vineyard. I will miss him. Most of all I will miss his energy. Everything he did was at 90 miles an hour."

The Mets issued the following statement: The family suffered a loss earlier today when Daniel “Rusty” Staub passed away. The entire organization sends its deepest sympathy to his family. He will be missed by everyone.