Rusty Staub, slugger who played 23 seasons, dies at 73

NEW YORK (AP) — 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 today. He was 73.

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

Affectionately dubbed "Le Grand 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. He became a huge hit with fans in the U.S. and Canada, most adored in New York and Montreal.

A savvy, reliable slugger with left-handed power and a discerning eye, Staub played from 1963 to 1985 and finished 284 hits shy of 3,000. He had 3½ great seasons with the Detroit Tigers and batted .300 for the Texas Rangers in 1980.

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.

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