Remembering Mets History (1986) Mets Honor "Le Grande Orange" On Rusty Staub Day & Ron Darling Tosses a Shut Out

Sunday, July 13th, 1986: Rusty Staub Day: The Mets took this chance to honor "Le Grande Orange" Rusty Staub inducting him in the Mets Hall of Fame. 

Rusty Staub came out from center field riding & waving to the fans in an orange convertible. 

Bob Murphy was the opening MC for the on-field ceremonies, donning a pink jacket & blue pinstripe shirt with blue tie. Rusty's Staub's family was on hand including his mother, two sisters & brother.

Ralph Kiner also helped out with the on-field ceremonies, where Rusty was honored for his playing days, his restaurant business & charity work with the NYPD. 

Mets GM Frank Cashen then gave Rusty Staub a check for $25,000 for the Rusty Staub Foundation.

Even the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal John O'Connor was on hand to make a speech & a few jokes referencing the Pope on Rusty's behalf.

The highlight of the event was when Keith Hernandez came out honoring Staub with a plaque from his former Mets teammates. Hernandez called for the team & the 1986 Mets came out of the dugout donning long red wigs to congratulate Rusty on his day. 

Some of the players including Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson & Wall Backman also padded their bellies in honor of Rusty's growing waist size.

After the ceremonies, Davey Johnson's first place Mets (59-25) took on Chuck Tanner's fifth place Atlanta Braves (42-46). Ron Darling (8-2) went up against veteran Doyle Alexander (6-4).

Ron Darling pitched one of his best games of the regular season. He threw a complete game shutout, one of two shut outs he would have on the year, both coming in the month of July. Darling scattered nine hits & struck out seven batters without walking anyone. He went to 9-2 on the year with a 2.84 ERA.

The Braves Doyle Alexander had a good game as well, he only surrendered four hits in the game, but gave up two runs. 

In the home 1st inning, Lenny Dykstra led off with a triple. Next Wally Backman grounded out to first base, allowing Dykstra to score. 

In the 6th inning, Dykstra hit a solo HR giving the Mets all the runs they would need for the 2-0 win. It was Dykstra's fourth HR of the year.

Trivia: Rusty Staub had retired after the 1985 season; he had spent nine years with the Mets in two separate eras. First from 1972-1975 when he led the Mets offensively to the 1973 NL Pennant. 

In that year's post season, he hit a combined .341. In the NLCS he only hit .200 but hit three HRs with five RBIs. The three HRs were the only hits he got. 

In the World Series he hit .423 with a HR & six RBI's. Staub became the first Met to drive in 100 runs in 1975 with 105.

He returned in the twilight of his career playing from 1981-1985 becoming one of the league's best pinch hitters, setting records for games with most consecutive pinch hits (tied with 8) & most RBIs (25) as a pinch hitter.

In those nine years he played in 942 Met games (13th most) with 709 hits 75 HRs 130 doubles 7 triples 296 runs scored 399 RBIs (13th most) batting .276 & a .358 on base %.


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