At left, former Met Joel Youngblood. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Joel Youngblood had a busy day on this date 30 years ago. In the third inning of an afternoon tilt at Wrigley Field, Youngblood rapped a two-run single off of the Cubs' Fergie Jenkins. Coincidentally, as Youngblood was batting, GM Frank Cashen was finalizing a deal that would send the utility man to the Expos for pitcher Tom Gorman. At the end of the frame, Youngblood was pulled from the game, informed of the trade, and placed on the first flight to Montreal. A few hours later, he arrived at Olympic Stadium, where his new team was battling the Phillies. Immediately inserted into the game, Youngblood made a good first impression by turning a Steve Carlton offering into an infield single. To this date, Youngblood remains the only player in MLB history to get hits (off two Hall of Fame pitchers, no less) for two different teams in a single day.
- Steve Bieser is 45. A versatile part of Bobby Valentine's bench in 1997, Bieser is one of three Mets to have played at least one game at all three outfield positions plus catcher in a single season. Of the three, Bieser is the only Southeast Missouri State University alum. Go fightin' Redhawks!
- Kevin Collins (1965, 1967-1969) is 66. Collins hit .185 over parts of four seasons with the Mets before being shipped to the Montreal Expos in the Donn Clendenon deal. In a bit of editorializing, the author of Collins's Bullpen Encyclopedia page at Baseball Reference describes his career .245 OBP as "anemic". Ouch.
More birthdays after the jump...
- Dallas Green turns 78 today. As a pitcher, Green appeared in four games for the 1966 Mets. He returned to the club in 1993, taking over managerial duties after the midseason firing of Jeff Torborg. Brought in to right the ship, Green succeeded somewhat, improving the team's winning percentage from .342 to a slightly more robust .371. In any event, it wasn't enough to prevent he Mets from slouching to their first 100+ season since 1967. After two and a half years of marginally better results, Green was canned in favor of Bobby Valentine.
- A happy 70th birthday goes out to Mets Hall of Famer Cleon Jones. The sweet swinging outfielder was an integral part of the 1969 team, leading the club with a .340 average and catching the final out of the World Series. Earlier this year, Jones was picked as the Mets' All Time Left Fielder as part of the team's 50th anniversary celebrations.
- Joe Pignatano is 83. Pignatano donned the tools of ignorance 27 times for the 1962 Mets before retiring at the end of the season. 1n 1968, he joined Gil Hodges's coaching staff. For the next 14 years, Pignatano cultivated pitchers and plants, working as the bullpen's resident coach and gardener.
On this date in 1995, the Mets traded Bret Saberhagen to the Colorado Rockies for pitchers Juan Acevedo and Arnold Gooch. Acevedo pitched on season in New York before being traded himself. Sadly, Arnold Gooch never made it to the majors, depriving fans everywhere of the chance to root for a player whose last name is slang for a part of the body that's medically known as the perineum.
Game of Note
The Mets won a weird one in Arizona on this date in 2001. Clinging to a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, Armando Benitez easily retired the first two Diamondbacks he faced. Then things got interesting. Pinch hitter David Dellucci worked the count to 3-1 before lining a single to right. D-Backs manager Bob Brenly went to his bench again, calling on Mark Grace to take some cuts. Dellucci went to second on defensive indifference on the first pitch of Grace's at-bat, putting him in prime position to score on a single. Which is just what Grace did. Only Dellucci's mad dash or third brought him right into the flight path of the ball. Umpires correctly called the runner out on interference and the Mets escaped with a 4-2 victory.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Today would have been trumpeter Louis Armstrong's 111th birthday. If you've got some time to kill before a Mets game, the Louis Armstrong House Museum is located on 107th Street in Corona, just a 20 minute walk from Citi Field.