Rusty Staub was an American baseball player who made a significant contribution to the sport during his lifetime. Born on April 1, 1944 in New Orleans, Rusty grew up in the city with his three sisters. His parents operated a grocery store in New Orleans known as the Deux Soeurs Grocery.
Rusty developed an interest in baseball at a young age, and excelled in the sport while attending Jesuit High School. In 1962, he became a member of the Houston Colt .45s. He played in the major league for nearly 23 years, recording a batting average of .279, with 292 home runs and 1466 runs batted in.
One of the most unusual facets of Rusty’s career is the fact that he played for four different teams in four years from 1975 to 1978: The New York Mets, the Detroit Tigers, the Texas Rangers, and the Montreal Expos. This earned him the nickname “Le Grand Orange” (The Great Orange) in Montreal. He also became one of the most popular players in the Expos’ history, breaking the 100 RBI barrier in four seasons.
Aside from his on-field achievements, Rusty was famous for his philanthropic activities, especially his Restaurant for Families charity, which provided daily meals to the underprivileged. He also went on to establish the Rusty Staub Foundation that helped the youth with a strong focus on childhood nutrition, and raised more than $120 million for needy families.
Rusty was a four time All-Star, and he also participated in the World Series once when he played for the Mets in 1973. In addition, he was a member of Team USA in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.
In 1986, Rusty was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. He was also the first player to have his number (10) retired by the Montreal Expos in 1993, and he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011.
Rusty suffered medical complications in early 2018, and passed away on March 29 of the same year. The great work that he put into his philanthropic endeavors earned him posthumous recognition from organizations around the world.
Rusty Staub will long be remembered for his distinguished career and his dedication to bettering his community. From his home in New Orleans to his legacy in the world of baseball, the influence he had can still be felt today.