Rusty Staub who was very productive and an All-Star for the Detroit Tigers in the 1970s, has been elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, located in St. Mary’s, Ontario.
Staub was acquired by the Tigers after the 1975 season in a trade for longtime Detroit pitcher Mickey Lolich, a move that was wildly unpopular with fans. However, in his first season Staub played every game for the Tigers and batted just under .300 while serving as the primary run producer in the middle of the lineup and driving in 96 runs. In 1977 he hit 22 home runs and drove in 101 runs, and in 1978 he drive in 121. His level, left-handed swing was consistent and dangerous in the Detroit lineup. In 1979, after a contract squabble with GM Jim Campbell, Staub was traded in July to Montreal for a minor leaguer. Campbell and new manager Sparky Anderson wanted the outspoken Staub out of their clubhouse.
It was the second stretch for Staub in Montreal, which is why he is being inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame. In his first stretch, from 1969-1971, Staub was the team’s best everyday player. Starring for the expansion team, the red-headed outfielder earned the affectionate nickname “Le Grande Orange.” He hit .295 in four seasons as a member of the Expos.
Much traveled but always valued for his offensive production, Staub is the only player in baseball history to collect 500 hits for four different teams (Houston, Montreal, Detroit, New York Mets). He’s also one of a handful of players, along with Tigers legend Ty Cobb, to hit a home run before he turned 20 and also after his 40th birthday.
In all, Staub played for 23 seasons, playing in close to 3,000 major league games and collecting 2,716 hits while posting a .279 batting average.
After his playing career, Staub opened a popular restaurant in New York and has remained involved in baseball by serving in various positions with the Mets.
The induction ceremony is set for June 23 in St. Mary’s, Ontario.