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A star, not a starter
Robert Sullivan
August 24, 1981
For an All-Star, Joel Youngblood of the Mets spends a lot of time on the bench
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August 24, 1981

A Star, Not A Starter

For an All-Star, Joel Youngblood of the Mets spends a lot of time on the bench

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So that leaves leftfield, and two players feeling left out. The erstwhile Italian Stallion, Mazzilli, had been a dour horse around the clubhouse before returning to the lineup. He wants to find the old swing, and he knows he must play every day to find it. And Youngblood, as always, wants a job. In addition to being bullish about his hitting, Youngblood also knows he's a good fielder—his arm is accurate and strong. "What do I have to do?" he asks.

Youngblood says he's a better ballplayer than he was a year ago and that his hitting success is no fluke, but that other people don't believe him. He credits much of his success not to a new swing, but to less swing in a new life-style. "I remarried last December 26," he says, "and my wife, Beckie, has helped a lot. This year's different than the others. If you're a single guy in New York, it's somewhat difficult to play ball well. The new life has definitely helped."

Youngblood's new life includes a home in suburban Greenwich, Conn., where he and Beckie plan to live even if he's traded. He also runs a farm in the Catskills, where he likes to hunt deer with a bow and arrow. But his main interest is his career, and of that he says, "It's time to get serious." Next season is the last on his $300,000-a-year Met contract, and he has determined that if he can't find happiness in a New York outfield, then he'll go elsewhere.

"You only have so much time in this game," he says. "I feel my time is now, and I'm going to do whatever I can, and go wherever I must, to reach my objective. I've sat on the pine before. Now I want to play."

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