Former Detroit Tigers All-Star hitter Rusty Staub dies at 73

Rusty Staub Mets icon has died at age 73

The colorful, run-producing humanitarian died Thursday at a hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Mets announced. There wasn't a cause he didn't champion.

Staub retired from baseball after spending the 1985 season with the Mets and then became a NY institution through his Rusty Staub Foundation, raising millions of dollars for the widows of police, fire fighters and first responders while also feeding thousands of homeless people through his Catholic Charities.

He reportedly died early in the morning Thursday at Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Bill Madden of the New York Daily news reported that Staub's foundation, which in 1986 established the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund, distributed more than $11 million in the first 15 years of its existence to the families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and that since the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks the foundation had received more than $112 million in contributions.

He tied a major league league with 25 pinch-hit RBI and is the only player ever to have 500 hits with four different teams. The orange-haired outfielder became a huge hit with fans in the US and Canada during a career spanning 23 seasons.

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Staub, a six-time all-star, played 23 seasons from 1963 to 1985 with Houston, Montreal, the Mets, Detroit and Texas. He finished 284 hits shy of 3,000. The paper first broke news of his death.

The beloved Staub was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1986.

In Detroit, Staub became the first player to play all 162 games exclusively as a designated hitter. In 2015 he suffered a near-fatal heart attack while on a transatlantic flight. Staub hit.423 with a home run and six RBIs for the Mets in the 1973 World Series.

Ultimately, Staub was traded to the Mets in 1972, following five consecutive All-Star campaigns.

At the end of his distinguished career, Staub founded the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund. In January, just a few months before he died, he announced that his foundation had served over nine million meals over the last ten years to the needy of NY. One of the best contact hitters of his time, Staub struck out just 888 times in 9,720 at-bats and drew 1,255 walks. "The entire organization sends its deepest sympathy to his family".

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