Tuesday, June 18, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #548 - Joel Youngblood

  • Joel Youngblood was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1970. Youngblood spent six seasons (1970-1975) in the minors before finally getting into the majors in 1976. Joel played several positions (OF, 3B, SS, and 2B) during his time in the minors.
  • Youngblood finally  made it to the majors in 1976. He didn't play much for the powerhouse Reds that year. Joel played six different positions and got into 55 games, but he had only 57 at bats. Youngblood batted .193 during the 1976 season and was not included on the postseason roster.
  • On March 30, 1977 Youngblood was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for reliever Bill Caudill. Joel didn't get much playing time in St. Louis (.185 in 27 at bats) and on June 15 he was traded to the New York Mets for Mike Phillips. Youngblood got more playing time for the Mets and batted .253 in 70 games.
  • Joel played six different positions in 1978 and batted .252 in 113 games.
  • In 1979 Youngblood became the Mets' starting right fielder. He had his best season to date, batting .275 with 16 HR and 60 RBI in 158 games.
  • Joel had a similar year in 1980, except the home run total was lower. He batted .276 with 8 HR and 69 RBI in 146 games.
  • Youngblood made the NL All Star team in 1981. He was leading the league with a .359 average at the time of the strike in June. On June 8 (three days before the strike) Youngblood sprained his knee and was placed on the disabled list. When play resumed in August, Joel was on the All Star team (he appeared as a pinch hitter and fouled out in the 2nd inning), but he would play in only five more games after that. He reinjured his knee ligaments on August 14 and was out for the rest of the year.
  • In 1982 Joel started the season with the Mets. His offense was down from previous years (.257 in 80 games). On  August 4, Youngblood made history by playing for two different clubs on the same day. After he got the game-winning hit (a home run in the third inning) for the Mets, Joel found out he was traded to the Montreal Expos. He got on a plane and played for the Expos on the same day. Joel batted .200 in 40 games for the Expos to finish the 1982 season.
  • Youngblood became a free agent after the 1982 season and signed with the San Francisco Giants. Joel became a valuable role player for the Giants during their wilderness years (1983-1985) and during their resurgence later in the 1980s. He had his best year with the Giants in 1983, batting .292 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI. 
  • Joel's playing time decreased later in the 1980s. In 1986 Youngblood filed a grievance against the Giants after they tried to insert a drug-testing clause into his contract offer at the  last minute. The Giants withdrew the offer. The Giants were later forced to honor the offer, but the clause remained in the contract (the players union contested this clause in a grievance).
  • Youngblood was mostly a pinch hitter and an occasional outfielder in 1987 and 1988.
  • After the 1988 season Youngblood was not offered a contract by the Giants. He signed with the Reds and played one season with them in 1989. The Reds let Joel become a free agent after the 1989 season. He went to spring training with the Houston Astros in 1990, but the Astros cut him at the end of spring training.
  • Youngblood coached in several organizations from 1992-1999. He then left baseball to work for a computer company. Joel returned to baseball in 2007 in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. He now serves as the minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • St. Louis Cardinals - .185 in 27 at bats
    • New York Mets - .253 in 70 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • Aug 1 - Appeared as a pinch hitter in the 12th inning and singled in the winning run to lead the Mets to an 8-7 win over the LA Dodgers.
    • Oct 2 - Went 3 for 4, including a 2-run triple that was the eventual game winner, as the Mets beat the Cardinals 6-4 in the final game of the season.
  • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988

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