On August 4, 1982, New York Mets GM Frank Cashen was working on trading Youngblood to the Expos, and as he did, Youngblood batted third at a Wrigley Field day game, against Hall of Fame righty Ferguson Jenkins.
Youngblood struck out in the first inning, then came through with a two-run single in the third, giving the Mets a 3-1 lead on their way to a 7-4 victory. He left Wrigley before the game ended: Manager George Bamberger took him out, told him he was traded to the Expos, and Youngblood set off for Philadelphia, where the Expos were playing that night.
By the time he got to Veterans Stadium, his new uniform was there waiting for him, with “Youngblood” already stitched onto the back. Expos manager Jim Fanning met his new player in the dugout, and sent him to right field in the sixth inning as a defensive replacement for Jerry White. He came up in the seventh and rapped a single in his only plate appearance against the second immortal of the day, Steve Carlton.
Here’s Joel Youngblood recalling one of the oddest days any big league player could have, in an interview a couple years ago with the N.Y. Daily News: “I just remember that was a very, very long day. Anytime you start off as a day game, it’s (the middle game of a series), you’re not expecting to travel after the game – you’re just not anticipating anything but playing the game.
“(Bamberger) took me out of the game, I couldn’t understand it. I went to talk to him, and he said, ‘Joel you’ve just been traded to the Montreal Expos – they’re short players and they’d like you to get to Philadelphia as quickly as you can.’”
Before going off to O’Hare airport, Youngblood told a reporter, “I knew something would happen sooner or later. This is a good opportunity for me to play every day.”
Joel recalled the journey to Philadelphia: “(In the cab to the airport) I realized I left my glove at Wrigley Field. 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.”
“(In the visitors’ clubhouse at Veterans Stadium) I got in my uniform, went up the stairs. I knew Pete Rose (then playing first base for the Phillies), and waved to him, then went up and got a base hit. My two hits that day were off Hall of Famers – Fergie Jenkins and Steve Carlton. That’s off two pretty good pitchers to make this happen.”