Wednesday August 4th 1982: The fifth place New York Mets (46-58) were in Chicago to play an afternoon game against Lee Elia's sixth place Chicago Cubs (42-66) in front of 9,237 fans at Wrigley Field. It was to be a strange , historic day for Mets player Joel Youngblood.
New York Mets Manager; George Bamberger, was well aware that a trade was being negotiated for his All Star outfielder.
Youngblood had been with the Mets since 1977, the versatile outfielder had a strong arm, played infield positions as well & made the 1981 All Star team. He was a good player that never found a home position for two long on a poor team.
When the new Mets ownership took over, things began to change. As a young Mookie Wilson arrived with the Mets, there was less room for Youngblood.
He felt he was good enough to start on the poor club & if not, he asked to be traded. He also knew his days in New York were numbered.
Mets Game: The Mets were in Chicago at Wrigley Field playing the Cubs. Manager, George Bamberger, penciled in Youngblood as the Mets clean up hitter, in the Mets line up that day.
In the 1st inning, he struck out against Hall of Famer, Fergie Jenkins. In the 3rd inning, with the Mets up 1-0 & the bases loaded, Youngblood singled off Jenkins, scoring Wally Backman & Craig Swan.
In the middle of the next inning, Mookie Wilson was put in the game, replacing Youngblood. Joel was feeling like he was to have a good day at the plate, after the hit & wondered why he was being removed.
He went over to ask his manager about the move. Manager George Bamberger informed him that he had just been traded to the Montreal Expos. He also stated that, the Montreal team was short players and wanted Youngblood to join the ball club as soon as he could. They were asking to see if he could make it to that night's game scheduled in Philadelphia.
Youngblood exited the Mets dugout, saying goodbye to his team mates, telling them what had transpired. In the locker room he showered, packed his bags and got a cab to the airport.
It was then he realized he forgot his glove at Wrigley Field. He told the cab driver, he'd give him a big tip but he had to go back to the ballpark to get it & quickly get to the airport.
Quotes- Joel Youngblood: "And I knew that would take away from the time I had and I was jeopardizing my opportunity to make that flight. But I’d played with that glove for years. So I went back, got my glove, and the cab got me to the airport in probably another 30 minutes. It was a 6:05 flight – 7:05 Philly time.”
He eventually caught the next flight from O'Hare to Philadelphia, arriving at Veterans Stadium just as the night game began. There, the Expos already had a uniform waiting for him. It had his long last name & number, already stitched in on the back.
Expos Game: Youngblood now the Montreal Expo, got dressed and walked into his new team’s dugout, getting greeted by Montreal manager; Jim Fanning.
Fanning inserted him in right field, replacing Jerry White in the 6th inning. He came to bat in the top of the 7th and singled off the Phillies future Hall of Famer; Steve Carlton.
Youngblood made baseball history, becoming the first player to get two hits on the same day for two different teams. It must also be noted that he accomplished the feat, against two future Hall of Fame pitchers.
At the end of 1982, he would become a free agent & sign with the San Francisco Giants.