Rusty Staub played in parts of 23 Major League Baseball seasons. In nine of them, he represented the New York Mets. Along with his time in the Big Apple, Staub played in Houston, Montreal, Detroit, and Texas.
Sadly, Staub only ever got to play in the postseason once. This occurred in 1973 when the Mets snuck into the playoffs in a weak National League East.
A major league career that included nearly 3,000 regular season games has just 11 from the postseason tacked on to it. However, in the biggest of moments, Staub put together two productive yet very different postseason series for the 1973 Mets.
Rusty Staub got home run happy for the Mets in the NLCS
The 1973 NLCS between the Mets and Cincinnati Reds was a hard-fought battle for five games. Staub participated in four of them and only managed to slash .200/.333/.800.
One of those numbers is not like the other. That’s because all three hits went a long way.
Staub finished the NLCS going 3 for 15 with a trio of home runs.
The first long ball came in the 5-0 Game 2 victory over the Reds. Staub’s fourth inning dinger would put the Mets ahead for good. After dropping the opener, it was important for New York to take this one before heading back to Shea Stadium.
Using some of that momentum, Staub hit two more in Game 3. The Mets took the game easily with a 9-2 win. That would be it for Staub’s big postseason hits in the NLCS. There was still a World Series to worry about after.
Rusty Staub was the Mets World Series MVP that never was
If the Mets won the 1973 World Series, there’s a great chance the MVP would have been Staub. The actual award went to Reggie Jackson with a batting line of .310/.355/.586 and one huge clutch home run with a total of 6 RBI.
However, it’s Staub who had truly the best offensive series of all. He hit .423/.464/.615 in the World Series. He also knocked a home run and drove in 6. The difference between Staub and Jackson is the winning team. Jackson’s Oakland Athletics took down the Mets and what was too often a one-man offense led by Staub.
In the final game of the series, Staub did have an RBI double in the sixth inning. Unfortunately, his team was already trailing 5-0. A comeback was not in the cards for them. On October 21, 1973, the Athletics won the World Series and Staub would play his last postseason game.
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Staub nearly made it to the postseason one more time in his career but age played a factor. He was a member of the 1985 Mets at 41-years-old. As we all know, the club would finally get back to the playoffs one year later. Staub, now retired from baseball, wouldn’t be a part of the action.