When Joel Youngblood woke up on the morning of August 4, 1982, he was a New York Met. When he arrived at Wrigley Field for that afternoon's contest against the Cubs, he was still a Met. When he knocked in a pair of third inning runs with a single off of Fergie Jenkins, Youngblood was still a Mets. When he returned to the dugout at frame's end to fetch his glove, however...well, by then he was a member of the Montreal Expos.
Turns out as Youngblood was batting, Mets general manager Frank Cashen was putting the final touches on a trade that would send the utility player to the Expos for pitcher Tom Gorman. Pulled from the game in the top of the second, Youngblood was rushed to the airport and put on the first flight to Montreal. A few hours later, he arrived at Olympic Stadium, where his new teammates were battling the Phillies. Immediately inserted into the lineup as a defensive replacement for right fielder Jerry White, Youngblood made a good first impression by rapping an infield hit off of Philadelphia's Steve Carlton an inning later. To date, Youngblood remains the only player in MLB history to get a hit (off of two Hall of Fame pitchers, no less) for two different teams in a single day.
- Steve Bieser is 46. One of three Southeast Missouri State Redhawks to make it to the major leagues, Bieser is presently the head coach of his alma mater's baseball program. His team missed out on a chance to play in the College World Series this year, as they lost the qualifying Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Tournament to Austin Peay State University, a Tennessee institute of higher learning that counts former Mets scout and current Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik as an alum.
- Kevin Collins, 67, is one of the four young players the Miracle Mets gave the Montreal Expos in order to pry loose slugger Donn Clendenon. He's not to be confused with Kevin Collins, a variant of the Tom Collins that replaces gin with Irish whiskey and simple syrup with grenadine. Also, that sounds gross.
- Dallas Green celebrates his 79th birthday. In 1966, Green appeared in four games for the Mets as a pitcher. He returned to the club in 1993, taking over managerial duties from the fired Jeff Torborg, and proceeded to ruin the arms of at least four pitchers. Pete Harnisch (torn rotator cuff), Jason Isringhausen (torn labrum), Bill Pulsipher (Tommy John), and Paul Wilson (tom labrum) all suffered serious, season-ending injuries under Green's tutelage.
- Happy birthday wishes go out to Cleon Jones, who turns 71 today. Named the Mets' All-Time Left Fielder last season during the team's 50th anniversary ceremonies, Jones was a key part of the 1969 championship club. The sweet-swinging outfielder hit at then team-record .340 and caught the final out of the World Series.
- Miracle Met coach Joe Pignatano is 84. Also an original Met, Pignatano got behind the plate for 27 games during the team's inaugural season before retiring. Per the request of his longtime Dodgers/short-time Mets teammate, Pignatano joined manager Gil Hodges' staff in 1968 and spent the next 14 years cultivating pitchers and tomato plants as the team's resident bullpen coach/gardener.
The Mets sold Rocky Mountain High on Bret Saberhagen 18 years ago today, sending the ace right-hander to the Rockies for pitchers Juan Acevedo and Arnold Gooch. Acevedo, the prize in the package, worked out of the Mets bullpen for one season before being traded himself. As for the Gooch, he never made to the majors, depriving baseball fans everywhere of the chance to root for a player whose surname is, according to Urban Dictionary, a synonym for taint.
Game of Note
Dwight Gooden improved his record to 17-3 on August 4, 1985, tossing a complete game five-hitter against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. All five of the base knocks Doc allowed were singles and the lone run Chicago scored in the 4-1 victory scored courtesy of a throwing error by shortstop Ron Gardenhire. For Gooden, the win was his eleventh straight triumphant decision. He'd run that streak to 14 in a row before finally losing again.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Pope Urban VII, who has the ignominious honor of being the shortest-reigning holy father in modern papal history, was born on this date in 1521. Urban VI led the church for just thirteen days, dying of malaria less than two weeks after his coronation. There have been plenty of Mets starters over the years who've been pulled without recording a single out, but two have gotten the hook after just five pitches, which is the team record for shortest start. Facing the Expos in April 1981, Craig Swan walked leadoff hitter Tim Raines on four pitches. On the fifth delivery, Raines broke for second base. Catcher Ron Hodges fired a throw in the vicinity of the bag, but it caught an unsuspecting Swan in the back, breaking one of his ribs and forcing him from the game.
The other five-pitch start was also truncated due to injury. According to one party, anyway. On May 20, 2010, manager Jerry Manuel lifted John Maine after he walked Nyjer Morgan, due to the alarmingly low velocity on his fastball. Maine insisted the lack of speed had nothing to arm trouble, which lead pitching coach Dan Warthen to say, "John is a habitual liar in a lot of ways as far as his own health." As Pope Urban VII would have pointed out, lying is a sin and Maine paid for his misdeeds by undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery two months later.