August 04, 2011
On this day in 1982, Joel Youngblood did something that no player had ever done before, and that no player has done since. It began that afternoon, as he started for the Mets against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. In the third inning, he cracked a single off Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, knocking in two runs. It would be his last hit as a Met. He had just been traded to the Expos, who were playing the Phillies that night at the Vet. Mookie Wilson took his place in center field, and he hopped a plane to Philly, where the Expos were playing the Phillies that night. In the 7th inning, Youngblood stepped up to the plate. He stepped up against Steve Carlton, and rapped a single. Not only did he have two hits in two cities in the same day. He collected both hits off future Hall of Famers!
The NY Daily News wrote an entertaining piece about it in 2007, celebrating the 25 year anniversary.
And that’s just when the fun began. After showering and packing his bags, Youngblood went outside to catch a cab for Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, where he had quickly arranged a flight to Philadelphia. The Expos were slated for a 7:30 start….“I realized I left my glove at Wrigley Field,” Youngblood says. “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.”
At some point before he got on that plane, Youngblood managed to get on the phone to his wife, Becky, who was at home in Greenwich, Conn., with one of her nieces.
“For me, it was pretty exciting,” Becky says. “My niece and I got in the car and went to Philly, and got there when he was coming to bat … It just happened so fast and furious and quick. You just pack your bag and go, and you do, and you’re just there to support him and hopefully things work out. That was it, very fast.”
The Expos also were very fast. By the time he got to Veterans Stadium, the game was already under way, his new uniform was there waiting for him, his name 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.
He is still the only player in baseball history to get a hit for two different teams in two different cities in the same day.