Sunday, June 17, 2012

50 Years in Cards: 1976

Part 15 of our 50-year Bobblehead Promotion...

What is it: 1976 Topps #120, Rusty Staub

What makes it interesting: The '76s kicked off a rather bland era of Topps cards. There's color here, but it's not quite the same wild color all as the '75s. And the animated position guys in the corner are sort of a nod to the '73's, but it's not the same.

Speaking of not the same, there was nobody quite like Rusty Staub. Staub came to the Mets in '72 as a major power threat to anchor the middle of the lineup. He didn't disappoint. Despite a hand injury that undercut his '72 season, Staub returned in '73 and played through several injuries, including a shoulder injury in the NLCS resulting from an outstanding defensive play to rob Dan Driessen of an extra inning extra base hit. This seemed to slow Staub down little, as he hit 3 Home Runs against the Reds, and hit .423 with a Home Run and 6 RBIs in the World Series against Oakland. In '75, Staub became the first Met player ever to record a 100 RBI season. Of course, as was typical of Mets Management in that era, Staub was then traded to the Detroit Tigers for aging, ineffective Mickey Lolich. But, Staub would return to the Mets in 1981. Though by this point his defensive skills had deserted him, his batting eye did not, and Staub spent several seasons as Pinch Hitter par excellence. This '76 card features Staub at his Redheaded best, Le Grande Orange is still the only player in Baseball History to register 500 hits with 4 different teams, the Mets, Astros, Expos and Tigers.

Staub also made his mark as a New York restaurateur. Rusty's, on 3rd Avenue and 73rd Street, was known for outstanding ribs, among other things, and was frequented by many of Staub's teammates, most notably Keith Hernandez. Rusty Staub's on 5th, on 5th Avenue and 47th Street, would follow in 1989, when Staub was entrenched in his other 2nd career as a Mets Broadcaster. Both of these endeavors, however, were short-lived. Currently, Staub is a Mets club ambassador, and was one of the few selected to have his own Bobblehead day in this Mets anniversary season.

Card back:

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