Vida Blue, a 17-year main leaguer and an essential member of the dynastic Oakland Athletics throughout their World Collection three-peat from 1972-74, has died, the team announced Sunday. He was 73. A reason for dying was not given.
“There are few gamers with a extra adorned profession than Vida Blue,” the A’s mentioned in an announcement. “He was a three-time champion, an MVP, a six-time All-Star, a Cy Younger Award winner, and an Oakland A’s Corridor of Famer. Vida will at all times be a franchise legend and a pal. We ship our deepest condolences to his household and pals throughout this arduous time.”
Born and raised in Louisiana, Blue was drafted by the then-Kansas Metropolis Athletics within the second spherical of the 1967 draft. The left-hander made his MLB debut as a 19-year-old in 1969 and, the following 12 months, he threw a nine-strikeout no-hitter in opposition to the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 21. Ten days earlier Blue had thrown a one-hitter in opposition to the Kansas Metropolis Royals.
In 1971, Blue had one of many nice pitching seasons in baseball historical past, going 24-8 with a 1.82 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 312 innings. He made 39 begins and threw 24 full video games that 12 months, and earned AL Cy Younger and MVP honors. At age 22, Blue turned the youngest participant to win the AL MVP award within the twentieth century.
A contract dispute with A’s proprietor Charlie Finley restricted Blue to 25 video games in 1972 and he labored primarily out of the bullpen that postseason. Blue took the loss in Sport 6 of the World Collection in opposition to the Large Purple Machine Cincinnati Reds, although Oakland went on to win the sequence in seven video games. All informed, Blue had a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings that October.
From 1971-76, Blue was merely the most effective pitchers within the recreation with the A’s, pitching to a 2.72 ERA and averaging a contact over 264 innings per season. He was at his most interesting within the postseason, notably recording a four-inning save within the decisive Sport 5 of the 1972 ALCS in opposition to the Detroit Tigers and throwing a two-hit shutout in opposition to the Baltimore Orioles in Sport 3 of the 1974 ALCS.
Blue had a bitter relationship with Finley. In 1976, he informed reporters, “I hope the following breath Charlie Finley takes is his final. I hope he falls flat on his face and dies of polio.” Quickly thereafter Finley tried to promote Blue’s contract to the New York Yankees and commerce him to the Reds, although commissioner Bowie Kuhn vetoed each strikes.
It wasn’t till March 1978 that Finley efficiently traded Blue, sending him to the San Francisco Giants in a seven-player swap. Blue spent 1978-81 with the Giants and 1982-83 with the Royals earlier than battling drug addition. He missed the ultimate two months of 1983 and all of 1984 earlier than making a comeback with the Giants in 1985 and 1986.
After the 1983 season, Blue and several other former teammates pled responsible to trying to buy cocaine, and he additionally testified within the Pittsburgh drug trials. Blue spent 4 years on the Corridor of Fame poll (1992-95) and topped out at 8.7% of the vote, properly wanting the 75% wanted for induction. He mentioned he believed his drug issues contributed to him being saved out of the Corridor of Fame.
“I had some points in my life which may have had an inclination to sway voting,” Blue mentioned after falling off the Corridor of Fame poll in 1995. “There are some guys within the Corridor of Fame who don’t have halos.”
All informed, Blue completed with a 209-161 report and a 3.27 ERA in over 3,300 innings from 1969-86. He was a three-time 20-game winner and a five-time All-Star, he completed within the prime seven of the Cy Younger voting 5 occasions, and he acquired MVP votes in 4 seasons. Blue received three World Collection championships with the A’s from 1972-74.
Blue turned the primary pitcher in historical past to start out the All-Star Sport for each leagues (1971 with A’s and 1978 with Giants), and, in a neat little bit of trivia, he’s the final switch-hitter to win the AL MVP award. Pete Rose famously mentioned Blue threw as arduous as any pitcher he’d ever confronted, and Blue has lengthy been thought to be one of many hardest throwing lefties in historical past.
Following his taking part in profession Blue settled in San Francisco and labored with a number of charitable organizations selling baseball in interior cities. He additionally did some tv work.