One of the most popular Mets of all time has died. Rusty Staub passed away early Thursday morning at age 73.
Staub served two tours of duty with the Mets. The first from 1972-1975, when he was inexplicably traded to the Tigers for an over-the-hill Mickey Lolich. He came back in 1981 and stayed through 1985, serving mostly as a pinch-hitter extraordinaire.
Staub was also known for his long-shuttered Manhattan eatery, a rib restaurant appropriately named “Rusty” and for being a wine enthusiast.
But his lasting legacy will be the founding of a foundation to help the widows of New York City firefighters and police officers. He has helped countless families through his selfless work.
Rusty Staub was my favorite all-time Met, and I was honored a few years ago to participate in a Google Hangout with him. It was a thrill to talk with one of my heros (even if my Internet connection crapped out after I got to ask just one question!). You can see that here.
There will be a lot of electricity at Citi Field today for Opening Day. But it will be slightly dimmed because one of the most beloved Mets is gone.