Monday, June 22, 2009

1976 Topps #120 - Rusty Staub

  • Rusty Staub enjoyed a very long career (23 years) in major league baseball. He started in 1962 in class B Durham as an 18-year-old first baseman and hit 23 home runs. Rusty was promoted all the way to the Houston Colt .45s in 1963 and played in 150 games. He batted .224 and was sent back to the minors for a couple of months after batting .216 in 292 at bats in the beginning of 1964. Staub batted .314 with 20 homers in half a season in AAA Oklahoma City and was promoted to the majors to stay in 1965.
  • Staub batted .256 in 131 games in 1965. That would be his lowest batting average until 1979. Most of the time he would bat between .275 and .300 with double figure home run totals and a pretty good number of doubles. Rusty appeared in the first of six All Star games in 1967. That was one of his better years -- he batted .333 in 149 games and led the AL in doubles with 44.
  • Rusty was traded to the Montreal Expos before the 1969 season. Donn Clendennon refused to report to the Astros, so the Expos had to rework the trade in order to make it happen. Staub was the expansion team's first star and was very popular. He learned the French language, and his #10 was the first one retired by the Expos.
  • Staub spent three seasons in his first stint in Montreal, making the NL All Star team all three years. Rusty was traded to the New York Mets after the 1972 season for Ken Singleton, Mike Jorgensen, and Tim Foli. He played in only 66 games in 1973, but he got a few votes in the MVP balloting. Rusty played really well for the Mets in the postseason. He hit three home runs in the NL Championship series and batted .423 in the World Series. In 1975 he was the first Met to surpass 100 RBI (he had 105).
  • Before the 1976 season, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers with pitcher Bill Laxton for pitcher Mickey Lolich and outfielder Billy Baldwin. Rusty was voted to start the 1976 AL All Star game in RF. He went 2 for 2 in that game. Staub was the first person to play 162 games exclusively as a DH in 1978. He batted .273 with 24 HR and 121 RBI and was 5th in MVP voting that season.
  • Staub held out to start the 1979 season and was traded back to Montreal in July. It was pretty much a lost season for Staub as he only batted .244 with 12 homers for both teams.
  • Before the 1980 season Staub was traded to the Texas Rangers for Chris Smith and LaRue Washington (who are they???). Rusty played in 109 games for the Rangers and batted .300 with 23 doubles and 9 homers. He was granted free agency after the season. Staub signed with the Mets, where he would finish his career.
  • Staub was a player-coach for the Mets in 1982. In 1983 he tied an NL record with eight straight pinch hits and tied the record for most RBI as a pinch hitter (25).
  • Staub retired at the end of the 1985 season with 2716 hits and 299 home runs. He was the only one to ever have over 500 hits for four different teams.
  • Staub had opened Rusty's -- a cajun-styled restaurant on the upper east side of Manhattan -- in the 1970s. It closed in the 1980s because of rising rent costs and an inability to control costs (Rusty wasn't around all the time). He worked as a television announcer for Mets games.
  • Rusty established the Rusty Staub Foundation to do charitable works and in 1986 he founded the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund. In its first 15 years it raised and distributed $11 million to families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. Since 9/11 the organization has received over $112 million in contributions.


  1. I recall the 76 ASG, simply because Mark Fidrych started. I seem to remember Staub being out of position on a base hit and fell down allowing the hit to be a triple and a run scored, leading to the Bird's loss.

  2. I remember Rusty didn't have any cards in the early 70's. I sort of remember it being some type of licensing issue, but can't remember exactly.

    I also remember Rusty for getting the Mets to the '73 Series, but having an arm injury which caused him to have to throw underhand (yes, I've got film of it) when somebody would single to right. He couldn't swing the bat good, either.