Rusty Staub, an original member of the Montreal Expos and one of the team’s first superstars, has died. He was 74.
Nicknamed “Le Grand Orange” by Montreal fans for his shock of red hair — which also earned him the handle “Rusty” — the right-fielder was traded to the Expos in 1969, before the start of their first season in the majors.
He went on to become one of the club’s most popular players ever, especially for a generation of fans who followed the team from the beginning.
The Expos, who were relocated to Washington after the 2004 season, retired his No. 10 jersey in 1993.
The New York Mets confirmed Staub’s death in a tweet Thursday morning.
The team said in a statement he died after an illness in a hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla., hours before the start of the baseball season. A team spokesman said the Mets learned of the death from friends of Staub who were with him at the time.
Born Daniel Joseph Staub, the Montreal baseball icon would have turned 74 on Sunday.
While he was an original member of the Expos, he also played for the Mets, Astros, Tigers and Rangers.
A six-time all-star, he recorded 2,716 hits with 292 home runs and 1,466 RBIs during his career. He was the only player in major league history to have at least 500 hits with four different teams.
He retired in 1985 at the age of 41 and was enshrined in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.
Staub had battled numerous health issues since leaving the game. He nearly died in 2015 when he suffered a heart attack on a plane. He had reportedly been diagnosed with cellulitis in January and complications led to kidney failure.
According to the New York Daily News, he died of multiple organ failure.
The Canadian Press