Rusty Staub / Getty Images
This is just so sad. In the wee morning hours of Opening Day, we learned of the loss of one of our greats. NY Daily News first broke the news:
In every way, Rusty Staub, the beloved Mets' hitting icon, who passed away early Thursday morning at age 73, was bigger than life — a bigger-than-life baseball personality, humanitarian, gourmet chef, wine connoisseur, friend-to-all and, to the fans of Montreal, quite simply, "Le Grand Orange."
This Opening Day will have a sad undertone - the Mets organization tweeted this prior to game time:
The #Mets family suffered a loss earlier today when Daniel “Rusty” Staub passed away. The entire organization sends its deepest sympathy to his family. He will be missed by everyone. #RIPRusty pic.twitter.com/fFymLOAqhr— New York Mets (@Mets) March 29, 2018
PIX 11 continues:
NEW YORK — Mets icon Daniel “Rusty” Staub has died, the ball club confirmed Thursday. He was 73.
Staub died at a Florida hospital just after midnight Thursday, which is Opening Day, according to the NY Daily News. The paper first broke news of his death.
The right fielder, designated hitter and first baseman played for Houston, the Montreal Expos, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers from 1963 – 1985.
Staub was a six-time All-Star and the only player in major league history to have at least 500 hits with four different teams. The orange-haired outfielder became a huge hit with fans in the U.S. and Canada during a career spanning 23 seasons.
He finished 284 hits shy of 3,000 in that time. Affectionately dubbed “Le Grand Orange” in Montreal, he broke into the majors as a teenager with Houston, lasted into his 40s with the Mets and spent decades doing charity work in the New York area.
Staub was with the Mets from 1972 – 1974, and ended his career with the team in 1985 after joining it for a second time in 1981. He was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame a year after his retirement.
The Daily News reports he faced several health issued over the years, and died of multiple organ failure after being admitted to the hospital with pneumonia, dehydration and an infection. He was hospitalized for eight weeks before his death.
Staub would have turned 74 this Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.