Mar 31, 2021

Rusty Staub: 1973 NL Champion Mets Star- 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 safely 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. Wayne 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.”

After the Pennant Season: 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).

1975 Season: 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 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 good run for the pennant but faded away in mid September. They finished third  82-80, ten games behind the Pittsburg Pirates.

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, 2021

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.

Mar 29, 2021

Daniel Murphy- The Mets Years (2008-2015)

Daniel Thomas Murphy was born April 1, 1985 in Jacksonville, Florida. The six foot two left hand hitting, right hand throwing Murphy attended Jacksonville University getting drafted by the New York Mets in the 13th round of the 2006 amateur draft.

That season he played in the Rookie League at Kingsport & the Gulf Coast before getting to the A ball Brooklyn Cyclones for eight games at the end of the year. There he was 7-29 (.241) with one double & three RBIs.

In 2007 he played at A Ball St. Lucie developing into a good hitter batting .285 with 11 HRs 78 RBIs in 135 games as the teams main third baseman. In 2008 he started the year back with the Brooklyn Cyclones for three games before moving up to AA Binghamton where he hit .308. He was promoted to AAA New Orleans for just one game, then when Marlon Anderson went down with injury he was called up to the Mets.

Murphy was a third baseman but when he arrived with the Mets David Wright was the teams third baseman so he was placed in the outfield.

He debuted on August 2nd getting a base hit off the Astros Roy Oswalt in his first career at bat in a game at Houston. In the outfield he made a catch against the left field wall & then threw a runner out at second base.

The next day he would draw a walk as a pinch hitter & not get an official at bat. The Mets came home & Murphy began a six game hit streak.

He also became the 5th Mets rookie to have ten hits in first twenty at bats. He would hit two HRs in his second week of play & bat over .400 in his first 18 games in the major leagues. He cooled off in September but still hit well, he had 131 official at bats which qualified him as a rookie in MLB rules. In his rookie year he batted .313 with nine doubles 2 HRs 18 walks 17 RBIs & a .397 on base %.

In 2009 the Mets began play at the new Citi Field, injuries to many key players brought change & disappointment to the fans. With Carlos Delgado going down to injury in May, Murphy got a chance to be the teams everyday first baseman. He was the teams Opening Day left fielder in Cincinnati & hit a HR off Aaron Harang while also driving in the other Mets run to led Johan Santana to a 2-1 victory.

In April he hit safely in 17 of 20 games. In May he began with back to back games where he hit HRs both coming in Philadelphia against the Phillies. He made the transition over to first base but then began to struggle at the plate as his average fell to .248 by the All Star break. On August 16th he won the game with a bottom of the 9th base hit off San Francisco's Jeremy Affeldt for a walk off win. On August 27th he drove in three runs with two doubles in a 10-3 Mets win in Florida against the Marlins.

On September 6th he hit a solo HR & drove in all four Mets runs in a 4-2 win over the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. He had a good September hitting five HRs while driving in 17 runs.

He finished the year leading the weak hitting Mets ball club with 12 HRs, a tie for the lowest season total in team history. He was second on the club to David Wright in doubles (38) & RBIs (63). Murph posted a .266 average with a .313 on base % playing in 155 games. At first base he made ten errors & posted a .989 fielding %.

In Spring Training 2010, Murph injured himself in a run down play on March 30th. In June while preparing to get back to the Mets he suffered a high grade MCL tear at AAA Buffalo after playing just eight games there. Surgery was not needed but his season was over.

In 2011 he was back in action but now Ike Davis was the team's first baseman & Murph moved over to play second for the departed Luis Castillo.

Throughout the season the versatile Murph, would play third base when David Wright went down with injury & first base again when Ike Davis was out with injury.

Trivia: It was Murph who was the plate on May 1st at Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia when the fans began to chant "USA - USA" upon hearing the happy news that Osama bin laden had been killed by US forces.

Murph put together a hitting streak hitting safely in 15 of 16 games in May followed by two eight game streaks in June. At the end of June he drove in ten runs in the last five games , with a four RBI day in Detroit during a Mets 16-9 win over the Tigers. He got his average back up over .300 through the summer and in the final two weeks of July also drove in a dozen runs.

Then in early August he himself went down with injury as a torn MCL ruined his promising season. He finished 2011 with a .320 batting average 6 HRs 28 doubles 49 RBIs a .362 on base % in 109 games played.

Murphy began the 2012 season with two hits on Opening Day & had a good April where hit safely in 17 of 23 games. On April 9th, Murphy hit a game winning walk off single off the Washington Nationals Henry Rodriguez for a 4-3 Mets win.

From May 6th through May 13th he drove in seven runs while in the middle of a twelve game hit streak. He enjoyed a seven game hit streak going into June, contributing to an 8-0 Johan Santana win with three RBIs against the St. Louis Cardinals.

On June 27th, after 352 at bats without a HR, Murph hit a pair while driving in four runs in a 17-1 Mets blow out at Wrigley Field. Two days later, Murph drove in five runs including a two run HR off Shawn Tolleson in a 9-0 R.A. Dickey shut out against Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.

On July 3rd he had yet another multi RBI game, driving in four more runs in an 11-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. He got over the .300 mark entering August & ended the month with a nine game hit streak into September.

Murphy finished the year playing the most games of his career (156). He was second on the club to David Wright in batting (.291) & doubles (40) which were seventh most in the NL. Murphy scored 65 runs, posted a .332 on base % & led the team with three triples. At second base (138 games) he made 15 errors (2nd in the NL) & posted a .974 fielding %.
Murph also played 12 games at first base.

Personal: In the off season, Murph married his long time girlfriend; Tori Ahem in a Florida ceremony.

In 2013 he would establish himself as one of the leagues best offensive second baseman. Murph started out the year with a good April, on April 5th he hit his first a HR, a three run shot at Citi Field in a loss to the Miami Marlins.

On April 12th, on a cold day in Minnesota, Murph had a four hit, four RBI day in a 16-5 win over the Twins. After batting over .400 in the first half of the month he cooled out to end April at .290.

In May he hit safely in 11 of 12 games to get back over the .300 mark. 0n May 27th, in the subway series Mets sweep, Murph got the game winning hit off David Robertson, with an 8th inning single scoring Jordany Valdespin giving the Mets a 2-1 lead.

In mid July he drove in runs in seven of ten games, diving in a total of twenty in the month. In the first game of a July 26th doubleheader in Washington, Murph had a huge four hit, two HR, five RBI day, in the 11-0 Mets win. On that same road trip he would have a three RBI day in Miami in a 6-5 Mets win.

In August he hit safely in 22 of 27 games, continuing as one of the Mets steadiest hitters. In September Murph hit eight doubles, with 15 more RBIs & he ended the year with an eleven game hit streak.

Murph put in another solid season in 2013, as he led the club in hits (188) which was second in the NL. He also led the team in doubles (38) which was 7th in the NL, as well as RBIs (78) runs scored (92) at bats (658) & games (161). He also hit 13 HRs with 23 stolen bases (7th in the NL) & posted a .319 on base %.

It was his low on base %, that had the Mets front office trying to trade him off at the Winter Meetings. The team asked a lot in return & found no takers. Murph says he believes in hitting coach (as well as Sandy Alderson's) Dave Hudgens  philosophy of deeper pitch counts & higher on base %. Murph feels his eyes tell him he can drive more pitches than not, hence not getting deeper into counts.

At second base he was second among all NL second baseman in games played (150) put outs (263) errors (15) & third in double plays turned (86).

In the off season there was some rumblings of the Mets trading Murphy, but no deals were made. Murph answered by making his first All Star team. Although he missed over two weeks of action in August / September he still finished with 172 hits (9th in the NL) 124 singles (5th in the NL) 56 at bats (9th in the NL) & he averaged a strike out very 6.9 at bats (8th best in the NL).

Charity: After Hurricane Sandy hit the New York area, Murphy helped out the NY Cares charity distributing food & supplies to residents of Far Rockaway Queens.

Family: His wife gave birth to their first son; Noah on March 31st. Murphy was granted a three day leave by the MLB collective bargaining agreement. The move was heavily criticized by many people (including centerfieldmaz) since Murph missed Opening Day for his team.

Certain New York radio personalities also made negative comments, Mets Manager Terry Collins commented back saying those guys should look in the mirror. Since Murph has become an advocate of  working fathers & has spoken at the White House for the Working Fmilies Summit in 2014.

He began the 2014 season with a hit & a walk on opening day, continuing on from there hitting safly in 23 of 26 games in April. On April 10th he had a three hit three RBI day, leading the Mets to a 6-4 win over the Braves in Atlanta. 

In the May subway series he started out with two hits the first night in the Bronx, then helped the Mets in the two game sweep with a HR & four RBIs the next night in a 12-7 win. This came in the middle of his second ten game hit streak of the young season.

In June he remained consistent keeping his average at .300, while hitting three HRs in the month driving in 11 runs. At the All Star break he was batting .295 with 105 hits (2nd most in the NL) & was picked to represent the Mets at the All Star game in Minnesota. Murph struck out against Fernando Rodney to end the 8th inning.

After the All Star Game he went on to have 13 games where he had at least two hits or more, driving in 15 runs in that time as well. He drove in runs in five straight games, six of seven on a mid August road trip to Philadelphia & Washington. 

Murphy was leading the NL in hits at one point & was on pace for a 200 hit season before landing on the DL on August 24th. He returned on September 9th & got himself a welcome back hit.

On September 19th he had a four hit day at Turner Field in a 5-0 Zach Wheeler Mets shut out. Murphy finished the year leading the club in batting (.289) hits (172) doubles (37) runs scored (79) & at bats (596).

In 126 games at second base he posted a .962 fielding % while committing the most errors at the position with 15. Once again in the off season his name came up in trade talks, but no deal was made. 

In Spring Training 2015 Murph had a minor ham string injury but was able to be ready for Opening Day. Murphy has drawn comparisons to Keith Hernandez in his style of hitting.

In the 2015 off season Daniel Murphy's name kept coming up in trade talks again, as the Mets continued to shop him. They did not find a suitable buyer & it was back to Spring Training never expecting the year that was ahead of him. He continued to dodge the questions that came his way & went about his business.

During Spring Training Billy Bean was going around to baseball teams to promote Inclusion to MLB. Murphy a Religious man stated "I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. You can still accept him but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100%."

After these comments became controversial to some, Murph said he'll stick with baseball & not tell reporters about his Religious beliefs anymore.

Daniel Murphy was the Mets Opening Day second baseman batting in the 5th position. Murph would be the teams main second baseman but would also see action at third as David Wright went down with an injury, missing Most of his season.
He had a slow start in April ending the month batting under .200 (.198) but did have a big four RBI day against the Atlanta Braves on April 23rd in a 6-3 Mets win. At the end of the month he has two RBIs in a subway series loss across town & then the next day, drove in all three runs in 3-1 win over the Marlins in Miami. In May the hits started to come easier as he raised his batting average to .272 while driving in 12 runs.

In June he went on the DL for three weeks missing action from June 5th through the 30th. In his return he had four hits in a series in which the Mets got swept by the team they would end up sweeping in that year's NLCS, the Chicago Cubs. 

Considering the amazing post season run Murph would have, it's funny to see that the most HRs he hit any month during the regular season was four, as he did it in both August& amp; September.
On August 2nd he hit a HR off the Nationals Jordan Zimmerman in a 5-3 win at Citi Field, as the Mets swept an important series from Washington taking over first place. Murph collected three hits in the series. This came during a six game win streak, in where Murph hit another HR in Tampa off Jake Odoizzi in a 4-3 Mets victory.

By this point Muph was settling into the number three spot in the line up in front of Yoenis Cespedes, who at that point just arrived after the trade deadline & was the hottest hitter on the planet. In August he raised his average from .266 to .281 while hitting 11 doubles & driving in twenty runs.
In September Murph would drive in 17 more runs while hitting eight more doubles & hitting HRs against the Atlanta Braves twice, the Phillies & the AL New York club. On September 26th Murph had two hits & two runs scored in the NL Eastern Division clincher at Cincinnati.
He ended the year batting .281(best on the Mets team) his lowest batting average since his first full season 2009 where he hit .266. Murph was the hardest man in the league to strike out (13.1) going down just 38 times in 499 at bats.

He collected 140 hits (2nd on the Mets) with 38 doubles (5th in the NL) 2 triples 14 HRs 73 RBIs (first on the club tied with Lucas Duda)56 runs scored & a .322 on base %. He was walked intentionally ten times (8th most in the NL).

Defensively he posted a .279 fielding % at second base (69 games) making six errors, he made six more errors at third (42 games) with a .935 fielding%.

2015 POST SEASON: On October 9th, 2015 Murph got to play in his first post season game, finally enjoying the benefits after playing seven struggling seasons with the Mets.
2015 NLDS: In the bottom of the 4th inning of Game #1 against the LA Dodgers, he put the Mets on the board with their first post season run as he hit a solo HR off one of the games best pitchers; Clayton Kershaw. 
In the Game #2 loss he collected a base hit off Zack Greinke. 
In the Game #3 Mets 13-7 rout at Citi Field, Murph added a 4th inning RBI base hit off Dodgers reliever; Alex Wood.
In Game #4 at Citi Field, the Mets only had three hits total in the 3-1 loss. The only run came when Murphy hit a solo HR off Kershaw once again, giving the Citi Faithful something to cheer about.
As the NLDS moved back to LA for the decisive Game #5 Murph's star was really about to shine. In the top of the 1st, Curtis Granderson led off the game with a base hit. After David Wright struck out, Murph doubled to left field off Zack Greinke, another of the games best pitchers, making it 1-0 Mets.
In the 4th inning, with LA now ahead 2-1 Murphy singled to start the 4th inning. With one out, Lucas Duda walked, the Dodgers had a shift to the right side of the infield on Duda. With no one covering third base Murphy alertly trotted to second & then took off to third base sliding in safely. The Dodger blunder was huge for the Mets possibly being the turning point. Murph then scored the tying run on Travis d'Arnaud's sac fly.
As Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom settled in shutting down the Dodger offense, Murph put them away with a solo HR to right field, this one coming off Greinke as well. Prior to this Murph had only homered in back to back games, once in his career. The Mets went on to the 3-2 win and advanced to their first NLCS since 2006.

Overall in the NLDS Murphy led the Mets in hits (7) runs scored (5) HRs (3) RBIs (5) while batting .33 with a .333 on base % as well.

2015 NLCS: On October 17th, 2015 the Mets hosted the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS Game #1. The man everyone was talking about; Daniel Murphy electrified Citi Field as he blasted a line drive HR to right field, off Cub pitcher Jon Lester, putting the Mets up 1-0. It was Murphs third straight post season game with a HR, his fourth overall. The Mets went on to a 4-2 win. 

In Game #2 the Cubs sent their ace & possible Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta to the mound. The Mets took care of him right away as Curtis Granderson singled & then came home when David Wright doubled.
Then the hottest hitter in the universe came up Daniel Muphy, he connected once again after fouling one off down the right field line just missing a HR, this one went over the fence for sure putting New York up 3-0. 

He would collect another hit later on as the Mets went on to a 4-1 win, taking a commanding two games to none lead in the NLCS.
Trivia: With that HR Murphy tied Mike Piazza for the most Mets HRs in a post season. He now had hit HRs in four straight post season games, breaking Don Clendennon's 1969 franchise record of three straight post season HR games.
As Game #3 moved on to Wrigley Field Chicago, all the talk continued to be Daniel Muphy, people who had never heard of him before know knew his name in New York. Baseball people knew this kind of post season hitting was special & rarely done before.
Rumors circulating that week, that no matter what kind of a playoff run Murph had, that the team still wasn't going to sign him, kind of changed. Reports came in that the Mets would possibly offer him double his salary in the off season, although that probably still would be short of what other teams may offer.
In any event Murph just continued his hot hitting, gave humbling interviews, complimenting his team mates being a true soft spoken gentleman that he is. As he said in post game interviews as long as the interviews keep coming that means the team has won another game.
In Game #3 with the score tied 1-1 in the third inning, Murph continued his hot streak, putting a HR into the center field bleachers at Wrigley Field, this one off of Kyle Hendricks, another solo shot.
This HR tied Carlos Beltran's all time MLB 2004 post season HR streak that went five games.
In the 7th Murphy singled, advanced to third on Yoenis Cespedes' base hit & then scored on Lucas Duda's grounder to first base. The Mets went on to a 5-2 win taking a three to nothing series lead.
Mets fans were so excited about sweeping the series & advancing to their first World Series in 15 years, they also figured with all that going on Murphy couldn't possibly do it again.
Well with the score tied in the third inning, Murphy defied all sanity by connecting with another shot that traveled & carried into the Wrigley Field bleachers.
It was his sixth straight post season game with a HR, a new MLB record. It was also his seventh HR of the post season, 7 HRs in nine games, during the regular season he hit 14 HRs in 130 games! Amazing. The solo HR put New York up 2-1, a lead they would never give up. The Mets went on to a 5-2 win, and won the 2015 National League pennant.

In the NLCS Murphy was named the NLCS MVP as he led the Mets in hits (9) batting average (.529) HRs (4) Runs scored (6) on base % (.556%) & tied with Lucas Duda in RBIs (6).

Trivia: The so called curse of the Chicago Cubs stems back to 1908 involving a Billy Goat named Murphy!

2015 World Series:
In Game #1 of the World Series Murph did not hit a HR the streak ended & even though he got two hits, it was a let down. He got no HR, he had seven at bats & the Mets lost the game 5-4 in heart breaking extra innings. 

In Game #2 he drew a pair of walks in the Mets 7-1 loss at Kansas City. He would only cllect one more hit the rest of the way going an overall 3-20 in the World Series.

In Game #4, something the Mets had always disliked about Murph came through to haunt them, his defense. With the Mets clinging to a 3-2 lead, Tyler Clippard walked two batters and ended his fate as a Met. Murph was next as an Eric Hosmer little roller went thru him & into center field.

That opened the flood gates at the Royals added a pair of hits to take the lead & go on to a 5-3 win. It was a sad ending to Murphs great post season & his Mets career.

In the off season he was let go as expected to free agency. Murph signed on with the rival Washington Nats.

This proved to be one of the worst moves the Mets made in that off season, as Murphy became a superstar & haunted the Mets for the next two seasons.

All Time Mets Leader Board: Murphy is third on the all time Mets list with 228 doubles. He is fifth on the All Time Mets second baseman games played list with 509.

He is 12th with 402 RBIs & 967 hits. He is 13th with 422 runs scored. He is also 15th all time in games played with 903.  

In his first season with the Nats, for 2016 he hit .347 (2nd in the NL) with 184 hits 25 HRs a league leading, 47 doubles & .595 slugging %. He had 104 RBIs (4th in the NL) 8 sac flies (6th in the NL) & a .390 on base % (7th in the NL) playing in 142 games. Murph came in second place in the NL's MVP voting.

Murphy continued to produce in 2017 for the NL Eastern Champion Nats, he was second in the league in hitting at .322. He collected 172 hits (8th in the NL) with 23 HRs a league leading 43 doubles 93 RBIs 94 runs scored & a .384 on base %, making his third All Star team.

Post Season: In the NLDS loss to the Chicago Cubs, he hit just .211 but connected for a HR in the final Game #5 loss.

In 2018 he batted .300 before the Nationals who were clearly not making the post season, traded Murphy to the Chicago Cubs for a minor leaguer. Murph hit .297 with 6 HRs & 13 RBIs in35 games. He made the post season once again & In the NL Wild Card game he went 0-4.

In the off season he signed on with the Colorado Rockies. In 2019 he batted .279 with 13 HRs 35 doubles & 78 RBIs. In the Covid shortened 2020 season, he played in 40 games batting .236. He retired at the end of the season
In his 12 year career Murph has 1572 hits with 138 HRs 371 doubles 29 triples 735 RBIs 710 runs scored  364 walks 709 strike outs & a .341 on base %.

The versatile Murph has played 837 games at second, 364 games at third, 87 games at third & 60 games in the outfield.