Six-time All-Star and celebrated philanthropist Daniel ‘Rusty’ Staub died Thursday in West Palm Beach, Fla. He was 73.
Staub, in the hospital, died of a heart attack, his brother, Chuck, said, via the New York Times. Staub had battled numerous health issues the last several years, including a heart attack suffered on a trans-Atlantic flight in 2015.
Staub played 23 years in the majors, including nine seasons with the New York Mets. He tallied 2,716 career hits, 292 home runs and 1,466 RBIs.
‘The Mets family suffered another loss earlier today when Daniel ‘Rusty’ Staub passed away in a West Palm Beach hospital after an illness,’ the team said in statement. ‘He was almost as well known for his philanthropic work as he was for his career as a baseball player, which spanned 23 seasons. There wasn’t a cause he didn’t champion. …
‘The entire Mets organization sends its deepest sympathy to his brother, Chuck, and sisters Sue Tully and Sally Johnson. He will be missed by everyone.’
Staub’s career began with the then-Houston Colt .45s in 1963. He played in Houston until joining the Montreal Expos for three seasons from 1969-71. Staub then began his first stint with the Mets, which lasted from 1972-75. After a four-season run with the Detroit Tigers, and a second stop in Montreal, Staub spent 1980 with the Texas Rangers before playing out the last five years of his career with the Mets.
Staub registered 500 hits as a member of the Mets, Astros, Expos and Tigers — the only player in major league history to accomplish that feat with four different teams. His No. 10 was retired by the Expos, and he’s a member of the Mets Hall of Fame.
As much an impact Staub had on the playing field, he’s also remembered for his philanthropic efforts. Staub founded the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund prior to September 11, 2001. After that day’s attacks in New York, the foundation went on to raise more than $100 million.
‘Rusty was a superb ambassador for our sport and a generous individual known for community efforts, particularly for the New York City Police and Fire Departments,’ commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. ‘On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Rusty’s family and friends, Mets fans and his many other admirers in the United States and Canada.’