New York manager George Bamberger was disgusted and fed up with the complaints of malcontent Met players. After this game with Chicago, Bamberger snapped: "I'm sick and tired of listening to these clubhouse lawyers spread their whining and moaning around to the rest of the team. We have a bunch of good kids here, and if anybody doesn't want to play for the New York Mets, all he has to do is let me know."* (Bob Logan, "Not you, too, Bambi," Chicago Tribune, Sports section, p. 1, col. 1.) Apparently one to whom he was referring was outfielder Joel Youngblood. Bamberger proved he was serious by dealing Youngblood to the Montreal Expos before the game even ended for a player to be named later (Tom Gorman). The deal was cut only minutes before Youngblood drove home two runs with a third inning single in his last at bat with the Mets. It was the game-winning RBI, and the Mets went on to win 7-4.
Youngblood was seemingly just as pleased with the trade as was his former manager. Being informed of the transaction in the Chicago clubhouse, Joel immediately departed for Philadelphia where his new team was to meet the Phillies later that evening. His impeccable timing enabled him to pack his bags in the locker room, get a cab back to his hotel, pack his belongings there, make another trip back to Wrigley to fetch his glove which he forgot, and board a plane that was just about to depart. He ate dinner while in flight. Once in Philadelphia, a cab ride from the airport directly to Veterans Stadium completed Joel's whirlwind journey. He arrived during the third inning of the Phillies-Expos game, the same frame after which he left the contest in Chicago.
In the sixth, Youngblood entered the game as a Montreal defensive replacement, and subsequently singled in one at bat. Joel thus hit safely off two future Hall of Famers, Ferguson Jenkins in Chicago and Steve Carlton in Philadelphia. Researchers have yet to discover another major leaguer who collected hits for two different teams on the same day, particularly in two different cities! Cliff Heathcote and Max Flack were once traded for each other between games of a doubleheader (see May 30, 1922), but each failed to hit safely in the opening match.
The Phillies ruined Youngblood's advent by beating the Expos for the third straight night, 5-4. Manny Trillo's clutch single in the sixth and Steve Carlton's 277th major league victory were the keys.
After his second game of the day, Youngblood was diplomatic in referring to his former employer. "There's a lot of confusion over there in New York, and it is a lot easier playing for a club in the pennant race. I wasn't playing over there, so I'm extremely happy to be with Montreal."* (Peter Pascarelli, "Met, jet, Vet," The Philadelphia Inquirer, section C, p. 4, col. 3.) According to Expos manager Jim Fanning, Joel would become the regular Montreal right fielder with Warren Cromartie being benched.
Youngblood's departure marked the beginning of a downward trend for New York. When he left, the Mets were in fifth place, 15 games out. They lost 39 of their last 58 games, sinking to the cellar and finishing 27 games behind league leading St. Louis. Montreal improved little with their acquisition as Youngblood batted only .200 (18 for 90) after hitting .257 (52 for 202) for New York. Joel played another seven seasons in the National League, mostly with San Francisco. He finished his unimpressive, 14-year career in 1989 with a lifetime batting average of .265.
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From Baseball Records Registry by Joseph J. Dittmar.
Copyright © 1997 by Joseph J. Dittmar. Reprinted with permission.