By Brad Dison
Joel Youngblood was such a promising baseball player at Stephen F. Austin High School that he garnered the attention of several Major League baseball teams. In the second round of the 1970 Major League Baseball Draft, the Cincinnati Reds signed Joel. Six years later, the Reds traded Joel to the St. Louis Cardinals. The following year, The Cardinals traded Joel to the New York Mets. Joel’s career peaked while with the Mets. He felt comfortable that he would be with the Mets for a long time.
On the afternoon of August 4, 1982, the Mets played at Wrigley Field in Chicago against the Cubs. Joel was the starting centerfielder. In the third inning, Joel was at bat with two players were on base. At the pitch, Joel swung and hit the ball in between the left and center fielders. Joel only made it to first base, but his two teammates made it to home plate. That was okay with Joel. His team had just gained two points. The Mets led 3-1.
In the next inning, Joel was again at bat. As he mentally prepared himself, he was called back to the dugout. He learned that he had just been traded to the Montreal Expos in the middle of the Mets-Cubs game. Mets General Manager Frank Cashen had hoped to make the trade before the game began, but a phone circuit problem delayed the trade. The Expos were short-handed and needed Joel to play at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia that very evening. “Montreal was short players for their game in Philadelphia and they said they really wanted me to try and get there,” Youngblood remembered. “And knowing the guy I am, I said, ‘Sure I’ll do my best.'” He said a quick farewell to his teammates and left Wrigley Field.
Being traded was nothing new to Joel, but the timing of this trade took him by surprise. Joel had to hurry. “It was Saturday, so being on a road trip, you’re not packed,” Joel remembered. “You gotta go change, take a shower, pay your incidentals, go back and get in a cab, and there was only one flight I could catch. It was a 6:05 p.m. flight, which was 7:05 p.m. Philadelphia time.”
On the way to the airport, Joel realized that in his hasty exit from Wrigley Field, he had forgotten to get his glove. He had used the same glove for 14 years and had no intention of breaking in a new glove. Joel had his cab driver speed to Wrigley Field where he retrieved his glove. As soon as they arrived at the airport, Joel dropped his luggage at the baggage check-in, rushed through security, and ran to catch his flight. He reached his gate with only seconds to spare. The flight departed at 7:05 p.m., the game began at 7:41 p.m., and the flight took 90 minutes.
When the flight landed at Philadelphia International Airport, Joel collected his luggage and hailed a cab. The driver sped to Veterans Stadium and arrived at the end of the sixth inning. He ran into the locker room, changed into his new Expo uniform, and hurried to the field.
Joel said hello to his new teammates in the dugout but had little time to get acquainted. Almost immediately, the Expos manager told Joel that he was next at bat. Joel mentally prepared himself to bat. Rather than thinking over the whirlwind day, he only thought of hitting the ball. Joel was and professional and he was ready for the pitch. He swung and “Crack!” Joel made it to first base safely. With this hit, Joel entered the record books. Joel Youngblood is the only Major League Baseball player in history to get hits for two different teams in two different cities (750 miles apart) on the same day.
Source: Matt Monagan, “The Man Who Got 2 Hits for 2 Teams in 1 Day,” MLB.com, January 28, 2021, https://www.mlb.com/news/joel-youngblood-two-hits-for-two-teams