Mets Card of the Week: 1984 Rusty Staub


The early ’80s were boomerang years for the Mets, as former players returned to the fold with notable regularity.

Mike Jorgensen kicked off the trend when he suited up for the 1980 team, after having been traded away in 1972 (for Rusty Staub, but we’ll get to that later).

Dave Kingman assuaged some of the pain of June 15, 1977 by returning to the Mets in the early spring of 1981, in a trade that sent Steve Henderson to the Cubs.

And of course Tom Seaver returned in 1983, as the club made a comprehensive effort to exorcise the demons still rattling around Shea from the infamous Midnight Massacre. (Alas, things ended in tears once again, when the Mets left the Franchise unprotected following the 1983 campaign and he was scooped up by the White Sox.)

But my favorite homecoming of all was probably Rusty Staub. Le Grand Orange returned to Le Grand Pomme in the winter of 1980, after having been traded to Detroit in 1975 for a running-on-empty Mickey Lolich.

Staub served as a reliable left-handed bat off the bench until his retirement in 1985. But perhaps more importantly, he served as a mentor to a team of young players who were just learning how to win. He was ultimately inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in that magical year of 1986…

At first blush, the Rusty Staub card featured here might appear to be a bog-standard 1984 Topps issue, but if you look closely at the upper right corner, you’ll see that the Topps logo has been replaced by the Nestlé logo. This is true of the card back as well, where the Nestlé mark sits above the card number.

Nestlé contracted with Topps that year to produce a version of the set as a premium, in uncut sheet form. The company printed 4,000 such sets, which were eventually bought up by hobbyists and cut into individual cards, largely to feed the then-considerable thirst for rare and unusual Don Mattingly and Darryl Strawberry issues.

4 comments for “Mets Card of the Week: 1984 Rusty Staub

  1. March 20, 2013 at 9:44 am

    And of course, Tim Foli came back in 1978. If only they could have gotten that other guy they traded away to make a return appearance…

  2. steevy
    March 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I love Rusty like most Mets fans but damn,Ken Singleton.Than they ship him off and they get a pitcher who was at the end of the line.The Mets could have had Amos Otis and Ken Singletn making up 2/3′s of their Of for a decade +.Jorgensen was a bat they could have used as well.

  3. AJ
    March 20, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    One of my all time favorite Mets! Look at that body – no PED’s for Rusty!

  4. Jim OMalley
    March 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    If Rusty wasn’t hurt in 73 they might have won the WS. The Singleton price ended up being steep but if they hadn’t of traded Otis they could have had him AND Staub and Cleon. Staub was one of the great great Mets.

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