I woke up this morning with snow on the ground and immediately thought it’s way too early for Opening Day. I turned on the TV and was hit with the news of the passing of Rusty Staub and thought it’s too sad a day for Opening Day.
How can a day meant for new beginnings be overshadowed by such a sad event?
I wrote about Staub several weeks ago and recalled how gracious he was to me when I introduced myself to him at an airport, and it was heartwarming to hear of the remembrances of him from Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling today.
Hernandez spoke of Staub’s influence wihen he joined the Mets and helping him get acclimated to New York. Darling said Staub taught him how to be a better person.
Fighting back tears, Hernandez said: “He was a great, great friend, and he’s in a better place.”
It is almost cliché to say he was a better person than player, but in his case, it could be true when you hear of his philanthropic gestures, most notably the New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund.
“Rusty started more than just a charity – he started a family,’’ wrote chairman Stephen Dannhauser. “While many admire Rusty for his impressive record as a baseball player, it is his work off the field that truly made him one of the greats. We will miss his laughter, friendship, and leadership, but we will work to carry on his mission through our continued stewardship of the charity he founded.’’
I urge you to log onto to the charity’s website, answerthecall.org for information on how to donate. Increments of $4 or $10, Staub’s numbers, would be a nice touch.
I know you all have your favorite Staub memories and ask you share them.