Mets hitter Rusty Staub, known after career for work for police and firefighters, dies at 73

NEW YORK — Rusty Staub, the orange-haired outfielder who became a huge hit with baseball fans in two countries during an All-Star career that spanned 23 major league seasons, died Thursday. He was 73.

He died after an illness in a hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida — hours before the start of the baseball season — the team said in a statement. The Mets learned of the death from friends of Staub who were with him at the time, a team spokesman added.

Affectionately dubbed “Le Grande Orange,” Staub was a six-time All-Star and the only player in major league history to have at least 500 hits with four teams (Houston Colt .45s/Astros, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers and Montreal Expos). He was a favorite with fans in the United States and Canada, most adored in New York and Montreal.

A savvy,

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