Joel Youngblood

Youngblood started in right field for the Mets in 1979 and in center in 1980, but has been a reserve for most of his 14 ML seasons, and has blossomed into a fine righthanded pinch hitter since 1986. Originally drafted by the Reds in 1970, Youngblood didn’t reach the ML until 1976 and was traded twice in 1977, first to the Cardinals, then to the Mets, where he emerged as a good-hitting outfielder and was the club’s sole All-Star in 1981. In 1982, Youngblood became the first ML player ever to collect hits for two different teams on the same day, when he singled for the Mets against the Cubs in the afternoon, was traded to the Expos after the game, and flew to Philadelphia in time to hit a pinch single off the Phillies’ Steve Carlton that night. Youngblood signed as a free agent with San Francisco after the 1982 season, and the Giants desperately tried to get his bat into their everyday lineup by playing him at second base in 1983 and at third in 1984. Although Youngblood did hit a career-high 17 HR in 1983, the experiment failed defensively, as he led NL third basemen with 36 errors the following year. He returned to reserve duty in 1985, and from 1986 to 1988 rapped 16, 13, and 15 pinch hits. The veteran missed his only chance at postseason play in 1987 when he broke his wrist chasing a foul fly on September 19.