Remembering Mets History: (1983) Rusty Staub Ties MLB Consecutive Pinch Hit Record

Sunday June 26, 1983: Today, Frank Howard's last place Mets (27-43) hosted a double header against Pat Corrales third place Philadelphia Phillies (32-33). 

In the first game, a couple of old familiar faces figured in the outcome. Tug McGraw, now with the Phillies got the win over the Mets Tom Seaver, who had returned for a second coming with the Mets, after six years. 

In the 9th inning, with the Mets down 8-4, Rusty Staub came to bat as a pinch hitter. Staub singled to right field. With that hit he tied an MLB record eighth straight successful pinch hit. He tied the record alongside Dave Philley.

On the previous home stand Staub had five successful pinch-hit appearances. The streak began on Saturday June 11th, in a 5-2 loss to the Montreal Expos. 


Staub came to bat against Jeff Reardon, with the bases loaded in the 7th inning & New York down 5-0. Staub singled driving in Mets, Mark Bradley & Jose Oquendo.

The next night Staub came to bat as a pinch hitter in the 6th inning, facing Montreal's Charlie Lea. Rusty smashed a double driving in rookie Darryl Strawberry & veteran George Foster. That night Staub helped contribute to his old pal, Tom Seaver earned a victory, beating Montreal 9-1.

June 13- June 15th: The Chicago Cubs came to town next and took two of the three games. But Staub continued his pinch-hit streak. On June 12th, he singled off Chicago's Mike Proly in the 8th inning for his third straight successful pinch hit.

Walk Off Win: The next night was a big one for Rusty Staub. In front of a small Shea crowd of 10,000 fans. The Mets Ed Lynch & the Cubs Dick Ruthven pitched well, both getting to the 8th inning. Dave Kingman & Danny Heep homered for the Mets, as the game went into extra innings tied at 3-3. 

In the bottom of the 10th, Staub came in to pinch hit against tough reliever Lee Smith with two men on. Bob Bailor was on third & Daryl Strawberry was on second. 

The game's best pinch hitter of that era came through once again. Staub hit an opposite field base hit scoring Bailor with the walk off game winning run. 

The next day, Staub was inserted into the starting lineup, playing at first base & batting fifth. The hot hitting "Le Grande Orange" went 3 for 4 in the Mets ten inning 7-4 loss.

June 18th 1983: The Mets went north up to Montreal, a city where Rusty Staub was a legend. He was labeled "Le Grande Orange" being the Expos first star player back in 1969.

 On the first night of the series, he had a 7th inning pinch hit single inning off Expo pitcher; Bill Gullickson. It was Staub's fifth pinch hit in a row. The Mets also won the game 6-1.

The next night, the Mets lost a 4-3 heart breaker to Expo legend Steve Rogers. But for Staub, he did come through again, bringing the Mets within a run, in the 9th inning, hitting his first HR of the year. It was his sixth straight pinch hit.

June 20th 1983: The Mets came home to Shea Stadium, for a double header with the world champion St. Louis Cardinals. In the first game the Mets took a 3-1 loss, where  Staub got another start. He played right field and batted fifth, going 1 for 4.

In the night cap, he made another pinch-hit appearance, coming to bat for Carlos Diaz in the 7th inning. Staub singled off St. Louis' pitcher Dave Von Ohlen for the seventh straight pinch hit. The Mets won the game 6-4. Staub played out field in the next two games and went hitless.

June 24th: The Mets came back home to Shea Stadium & took a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Staub came to bat as a pinch hitter, getting hit by a pitch from Hall of Famer; Steve Carlton, safely reaching base. 

June 26th: Two nights later Staub would get into the record books as he tied the pinch-hit record, leading off the  9th inning, batting for Junior Ortiz. Staub singled off veteran Philie pitcher, Ron Reed. He received a nice ovation from the Shea Faithful, as he accomplished his feat.


Rusty Staub's streak was ended three nights later, in St. Louis. In the 9th inning of a 4-3 loss, Bruce Sutter got Staub to ground out to second base.

On the season, the 39 year old Staub would bat .296 in 104 games, becoming one of the games best all time pinch hitters. 

The Legend of Rusty Staub: Rusty is still one of the most popular Mets players in team history. He first arrived in 1972, leading the offense in 1973 to the NL Pennant. Staub was the first Met to drive in 100 runs. After being traded in 1975, in a terrible deal, he returned for a second go around late in his career (1982-1985). 

He played nine years as a Met in 942 games (13th most in Mets history). He hit .276 with 709 hits 75 HRs 130 doubles & 399 RBIs with a .358 on base %. His charity work included the Rusty Staub Foundation & NYPD & FDNY Widow's Benefit Fund. He was also a Mets broadcaster & team ambassador.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Small correction: Staub's streak ended against the Phillies, the same day he tied the pinch hit record. Got his 8th consecutive pinch hit in Game One of a doubleheader (against Reed), then grounded out pinch-hitting in Game two. - David Crane

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