Wednesday, February 28, 2024

#230 Rusty Staub - Montreal Expos

Daniel Joseph Staub
Montreal Expos
First Base

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'2"  Weight:  190
Born:  April 1, 1944, New Orleans, LA
Signed:  Signed by the Houston Colt .45s as an amateur free agent, September 11, 1961
Major League Teams:  Houson Colt .45s 1963-1964; Houston Astros 1965-1968; Montreal Expos 1969-1971; New York Mets 1972-1975; Detroit Tigers 1976-1979; Montreal Expos 1979; Texas Rangers 1980; New York Mets 1981-1985
World Series Appearances:  New York Mets 1973
Died:  March 29, 2018, West Palm Beach, FL (age 73)

A professional hitter, Rusty Staub played parts of 23 seasons in the major leagues, making six All-Star teams and collecting 2,716 hits.  Staub holds the distinction of being one of the first stars of two different franchises - the Colt .45s/Astros and Expos.  He made his first two All-Star Games in 1967 and 1968 with the Astros, and led the league in 1967 with 44 doubles.  Dealt to the expansion Expos before their inaugural 1969 season, Staub was about to embark on the best three years of his career.  He belted a career-high 30 home runs in 1970, and he batted .296 in his three-year stint in Montreal, earning the affectionate nickname "Le Grand Orange."  He was the centerpiece of a big trade with the Mets right before the start of the 1972 season, and in total he'd spend nine seasons in New York, in two different stints.

Staub collected over 100 RBIs in three different seasons - 1975 with the Mets, and then 1977 and 1978 with the Tigers - driving home a career-high 121 runs in 1978 as Detroit's full-time designated hitter.  He spent the last several seasons of his career back with the Mets in mainly a pinch-hitting role.  Staub played in 2,951 games, owned a .279 career batting average and his hit tally is currently 65th on the all-time list.  He retired as the only player in major league history to collect at least 500 hits with four different teams. Staub was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1986, and he became the first Expos player to have his number retired (#10) in 1993.

Some text for this post originally appeared on my 1965 Topps blog.

Building the Set / Card #229
March 12, 2023 from The Philly Show (Uncle Dick's Cards)
In mid-March, Doug and I attended the Philadelphia Sports Collectors Show, held within the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania.  My main focus for this show was accumulating as many 1969 Topps commons as possible, which I did by adding a grand total of 193 cards to our set.  That's almost 30% of the entire set added in one enjoyable afternoon.  I wrote a full summary of the show in a post over at The Phillies Room, found here.

This is the 152nd of the 193 commons and semi-stars purchased, pulled and stacked from the first two neon green binders housing 1969 Topps cards at the multi-table spread of Uncle Dick's Cards from Babylon, New York.  My method was simple - I pulled up a chair, found a card I needed, picked the best of the group from the binder page and set it aside.  After each 100 cards, I'd ask the dealer to tell me how much damage I had done so far.  With a budget in mind, I kept going twice, continuing after card #100 and card #200, and stopping at card #298.  The final amount due was 17% off the sticker price for the pile of 193 cards, with this card surprisingly only costing me a little over $2.

The Card / Expos Team Set / Accuracy Index -8
Staub is wearing a road Astros jersey here, seen more clearly in his Deckle Edge insert card.  This photo and the photos used for his 1967 and 1968 Topps cards were likely taken at the same time.  The back of the card summarizes a few career highlights and notes his trade to the Expos in January.  On his 1966 line of statistics, Houston is misspelled.

Accuracy Index:  The Astros jersey (-5) and logo less helmet (-3) score Staub's card a -8.
Inserts:  Staub is included in the 35 card Topps Deckle Edge insert set and is one of 48 decals in the Topps Decals insert set.  He's one of 27 players to appear in both insert sets.

1969 Season
On January 22nd, Staub was traded to the Expos for Jesus Alou (#22) and Donn Clendenon (#208), giving the new Montreal franchise their first superstar and one of the most popular players in the early years of the team.  Staub was the opening day right fielder for the Expos, ultimately starting 154 out of 162 games at the position.  He was the team MVP, batting .302 with a team-leading 29 home runs and 79 RBIs.  He didn't get into the game, but Staub was the Expos first All-Star Game representative, and he'd return as the only Expos player for the 1970 and 1971 games.

1963 Topps #544
1970 Topps #585
1975 Topps #90
1978 Topps #370
1986 Topps #570

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  1963 Topps #544
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (22):  1963-1971, 1974-1986
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2012 Panini Golden Age #90
Total Non-Parallel Baseball Cards:  276 in the Beckett online database as of 2/6/24.

Baseball Reference / SABR / Wikipedia

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