Friday, October 17, 2014
FACE TIME: 1982 TOPPS JOEL YOUNGBLOOD
It's one thing to be needed; it's another to be in two places 665 miles apart within a few hours.
That was the dilemma Joel Youngblood faced on Aug. 4, 1982.
The versatile infielder/outfielder made the most of it and history in the process.
The Mets traded Youngblood to the Expos after he drove in two runs with a single during their afternoon game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He was yanked from the lineup in the fourth inning and told to get to Philadelphia, stat, where the Expos were playing that night at 7:30.
Looks like Youngblood's '82 Topps card perfectly captures his shock to the timing of the trade.
To complicate matters, he realized in the cab to the airport that he left his glove in the Wrigley clubhouse. He risked missing the plane but retrieved it and made the flight.
Good thing. Youngblood was called on by Manager Jim Fanning to replace right fielder Jerry White in the sixth inning and singled in the seventh. In so doing, he became the first player in major-league history to get hits for two teams in two cities on the same day.
Another way of looking at it: He played in a twi-night doubleheader with a road trip thrown in the middle. Those hits, by the way, came off Hall of Famers; Fergie Jenkins gave up the two-run single in Chicago, and Steve Carlton surrendered the hit in Philadelphia.
"I just remember that was a very, very long day,'' Youngblood said in '07 on the 25th anniversary of the trade in which pitcher Tom Gorman was later sent to the Mets as the player to be named.
Youngblood split his personal doubleheader, with the Mets beating the Cubs 7-4 and the Expos losing to the Phillies 5-4. In 216 plate appearances in 80 games for the '82 Mets, he slashed .257/.302/.361 with three homers and 29 RBI; with the '82 Expos, he had 104 plate appearances in 40 games, slashing a microscopic .200/.291/.222 with three homers and 21 RBI.
Numbers alone won't tell the story of Youngblood's '82 season.
Except for these: 2 hits, 2 RBI off 2 Hall of Famers in 2 cities for 2 teams within 24 hours.