Rusty Staub, the beloved Mets’ hitting icon, passed away early Thursday morning at age 73.
Staub had battled a number of health issues in recent years, including a near-fatal heart attack, October 2, 2015, on a flight from Ireland to New York. He reportedly became woozy while playing golf near his Palm Beach Gardens, Florida home in late January and was later discovered to be suffering from cellulitis, which evolved into a blood infection that resulted in a shutdown of his kidneys.
Staub died at 12:30 a.m. Thursday at the Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach due to multiple organ failure. He was initially admitted with pneumonia, dehydration and an infection and had spent the last eight weeks in the hospital. He would have turned 74 on Sunday.
Staub had a lifetime .279 average with 2,716 hits, 292 homers, 499 doubles and a major league record-tying 25 pinch hit RBI in 2,951 games over 23 seasons with Houston, the Montreal Expos, Mets, Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers from 1963-85. In 1983, at age 39 with the Mets, he tied Dave Philley as the only players in baseball history with eight consecutive pinch hits. In addition, he is the only major leaguer in history to achieve 500 hits with four different teams, and, along with Ty Cobb, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield, one of only four players in history to hit home runs in the majors before turning 20 years old after turning 40.