Sports

Rusty Remembered as Ambassador to Game

Former professional baseball star Rusty Staub smiles as he greets a man while helping distribute Thanksgiving Day turkeys and other food to people in need at a Catholic Charities’ center in Harlem in 2011. 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 March 29 at age 73. (Photo Catholic News Service/Gregory Shemitz)

The baseball world mourned the loss of the great Rusty Staub, 73, on Opening Day this year.

The Catholic baseball star enjoyed a 23-year career with the Houston Colt .45s/Astros, Montreal Expos, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers.

Father Daniel Murphy, former Mets team chaplain and former pastor at St. Saviour, Park Slope, concelebrated Staub’s funeral Mass April 12 at St. Edward’s Church, Palm Beach, Fla. Another funeral Mass is set to be celebrated April 25 by Cardinal Timothy Dolan at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Manhattan.

A public memorial service was held in New Orleans as well on April 10.

“He (Staub) said, ‘When I meet the big guy – meaning God – I want to be able to tell Him that I could do more than just hit the curveball,’” said Father Murphy, currently serving as a parochial vicar at Holy Cross parish, Vero Beach, Fla.

Staub was the main reason Father Murphy became Mets team chaplain in the first place. Several weeks before Easter Sunday in 1984, Staub approached Mets general manager Frank Cashen saying the Catholic ballplayers needed to go to Mass on Easter, even though the team would be playing in Philadelphia, Pa.

Cashen called Father Murphy to ask if he would come to Veterans Stadium to say Mass. Sure enough, Father Murphy made the trip.

From there, Staub suggested that Father Murphy say Mass during all Sunday home games at Shea Stadium. As a result, Father Murphy went on to serve as team chaplain from 1984 to 1990.

Staub finished his big-league career with 2,716 hits, a .279 batting average, 292 home runs and 1,466 RBIs. Father Murphy, an avid baseball fan, called him a “very smart hitter” who was constantly thinking – not just up there swinging.

When planes from LaGuardia Airport used to fly over Shea creating lots of noise, Staub used this to his advantage.

“Every batter stepped out until the plane passed over, except Rusty,” Father Murphy said. “Rusty stayed in the box because he was of the belief that it would affect the pitcher more than it would affect him.”

“Le Grand Orange” holds several unique records in the game. He joined the legendary Ty Cobb as players to hit a home run both before their 20th birthday and after their 40th birthday. He also became the first player to collect 500 base hits for four different teams.

Staub, a six-time All-Star and member of the Mets Hall of Fame, was known for his philanthropy work after his playing career. For the past 14 years, the Staub Foundation partnered with Catholic Charities in the “Feeding Our Neighbors” program, which has helped to deliver more than 12 million meals to New Yorkers in need.

He also established the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, which has raised millions of dollars for the families of first responders killed in the line of duty. The fund has been especially helpful to the families affected by the terror attack of 9/11.

For the first 26 years of the Staub Foundation’s existence, Father Murphy gave the invocation at the annual dinner.

Iconic players like “Le Grand Orange” don’t come around too often, so those who had a chance to see him play know how lucky they are. He will surely be missed, but he’ll always be remembered as true pioneer of the game of baseball both on and off the diamond.


Contact Jim Mancari via email at jmmanc@gmail.com.

One thought on “Rusty Remembered as Ambassador to Game

  1. FURTHER UPDATE TO DEATH OF RUSTY STAUB

    -|- 15 APRIL 2018 -|-

    WE ATTENDED THE SERVICE FOR RUSTY STAUB THIS AFTERNOON AT ST. EDWARD’S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN PALM BEACH, FLORIDA …

    WE WERE MOST SURPRISED TO FIND ONLY ABOUT 250+ IN ATTENDANCE AS EXPECTED THIS ONE TO BE PACKED TO THE WALLS AS IT WAS FOR THE VIC DAMONE SERVICE IN EARLY FEBRUARY 2018 …

    THERE WAS NO BOOKLET, NO HANDOUTS AND NO RECEPTION AFTERWARD …

    THE WHOLE SERVICE WAS HANDLED BY MONSIGNOR THOMAS J. KLINZING WHO WAS ASSISTED BY FATHER DANIEL MURPHY WHO IS AFFILIATED WITH THE NEW YORK METS …

    IT STARTED NICELY WITH A GREAT RENDITION OF ‘ DANNY BOY ‘ SUNG BY THE ST. EDWARD’S MUSIC DIRECTOR, MARALYN COSCIA, AT WHICH MANY EYES WERE SEEN TO BE DABBED …

    THE MONSIGNOR REMARKED AT THE START OF THE SERVICE HE HAD BEEN OVER TO THE GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL HOSPICE A NUMBER OF TIMES IN RECENT WEEKS, GIVING RUSTY COMMUNION EACH TIME AND ATTEMPTING TO COMFORT HIM, ALTHOUGH AND MOST SURPRISINGLY, REMARKED HE HAD NO IDEA RUSTY WAS SUCH A WELL-KNOWN / FAMOUS FORMER BASEBALL PLAYER AS HE SAID RUSTY NEVER SPOKE OF HIMSELF, WAS ALWAYS ONLY ASKING ABOUT WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT THE CHURCH AND ABOUT ALL OTHERS WHO WERE NOT WELL AT THIS TIME …

    ONE GENTLEMAN SPOKE WHO STATED HE WAS A LIFELONG FRIEND AND ASSOCIATE OF RUSTY WHO SAID THAT HE DID NOT EVER WISH TO BE SINGLED OUT OR PAID MUCH ATTENTION TO …

    APPARENTLY, RUSTY ALWAYS SAT AT THE FAR BACK FOR MOST SUNDAY SERVICES, USUALLY ALONE, ALTHOUGH WAS WELL KNOWN AND VERY MUCH LIKED BY ALL LONGTIME AND REGULAR ATTENDEES AT EACH SERVICE …

    SALLY JOHNSTON AND SUSAN TULLY, RUSTY’S TWO SISTERS, ALSO SPOKE IN READING PASSAGES FROM SCRIPTURE …

    MOST SURPRISINGLY ONE OF THE FEW BASEBALL PEOPLE SEEN AND SPOKEN TO WAS DAVE VAN HORNE WHO WAS THE RADIO VOICE OF THE MONTREAL EXPOS FOR 32 SEASONS ( 1969-2000 ), NOW THE MAIN RADIO VOICE WITH THE FLORIDA MARLINS, FROM 2001, AND WHO ALSO LIVES RIGHT IN THE PB / WPB AREA …

    MOST LIKELY THE BIG SERVICE AT ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL IN NEW YORK CITY ON WEDNESDAY 25 APRIL WILL BE JAMMED TO THE WALLS AS YOU WOULD EXPECT WITH SOME MAJOR BASEBALL NAMES IN ATTENDANCE. REMEMBRANCE.

    ( THURSDAY 12 APRIL 2018 )

    OBITUARY –

    http://www.legacy.com/guestbooks/theneworleansadvocate/daniel-joseph-staub-rusty-condolences/188659909?cid=full

    ======

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