Vida Blue, a hard-throwing left-hander who grew to become one in every of baseball’s largest attracts within the early Nineteen Seventies and helped lead the brash A’s to 3 straight World Sequence titles earlier than his profession was derailed by drug issues, died Saturday, in line with the crew. He was 73.
“There are few gamers with a extra embellished profession than Vida Blue,” the A’s stated in a press release. “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 buddy. We ship our deepest condolences to his household and buddies throughout this arduous time.”
Blue died at a hospital in San Francisco’s East Bay space of medical problems stemming from most cancers, the Oakland Athletics stated. Blue had used a strolling stick to help his motion at a fiftieth anniversary of the 1973 A’s championship crew on April 16.
“He was partaking. He was personable. He was caring,” ex-teammate Reggie Jackson stated throughout an interview with The Related Press on Sunday. “He was uncomfortable with the gang.”
Blue was voted the 1971 American League Cy Younger Award and Most Invaluable Participant after going 24-8 with a 1.82 ERA and 301 strikeouts with 24 full video games, eight of them shutouts. He was 22 at when he received MVP, the youngest to win the award. He stays amongst simply 11 pitchers to win MVP and Cy Younger in the identical yr.
Blue completed 209-161 with a 3.27 ERA, 2,175 strikeouts, 143 full video games and 37 shutouts over 17 seasons with Oakland (1969-77), San Francisco (1978-81, 85-86) and Kansas Metropolis (1982-83). He appeared on the Corridor of Fame poll 4 instances, receiving his most assist at 8.7% in 1993, far wanting the 75% wanted.
“That Corridor of Fame factor, that is one thing that I can actually, brazenly say I want I used to be a Corridor of Famer,” Blue informed The Washington Submit in 2021. “And I do know for a reality this drug factor impeded my highway to the Corridor of Fame – up to now.”
A six-time All-Star and three-time 20-game winner, Blue helped pitch the Swingin’ A’s, as Charley Finley’s colourful, mustachioed crew was identified, to consecutive World Sequence titles from 1972-74. Since then, solely the 1998-2000 New York Yankees have achieved the feat.
He grew to become the primary pitcher to begin the All-Star Recreation for each leagues, opening for the AL in 1971 and ’75 and the NL in ’78.
“I bear in mind watching a 19-year-old phenom dominate baseball, and on the similar time alter my life,” Dave Stewart, a four-time 20-game winner for the A’s a technology later, wrote on Twitter. “There aren’t any phrases for what you’ve meant to me and so many others.”
Jackson was shocked by how a lot weight Blue had misplaced when he noticed him on the fiftieth reunion.
“I didn’t acknowledge him,” Jackson stated. “I used to be shattered. I used to be shaken. That can keep on with me the remainder of my life.”
Chosen by the then-Kansas Metropolis Athletics on the second spherical of the 1967 newbie draft, Blue made his massive league debut with Oakland on July 20, 1969, a few week shy of his twentieth birthday. He made 4 begins and 12 aid appearances, then spent most of 1970 at Triple-A Iowa.
Known as up when rosters expanded, he pitched a one-hit shutout at Kansas Metropolis in his second begin. In his fourth begin, Blue pitched a no-hitter in opposition to Minnesota on Sept. 21, at 21 years, 55 days that made him the youngest pitcher to throw a no-hitter for the reason that reside ball period began in 1920.
He held out after his MVP season and signed a $50,000 one-year deal. Blue did not make his first begin of 1972 till Could 24 and went 6-10, largely out of the bullpen. From 1973-76, he went 77-48 however his profession World Sequence report was 0-3.
In 1975, he pitched the primary 5 innings of a no-hitter in opposition to the California Angels, however was pulled early by supervisor Alvin Darkish to relaxation him for the playoffs in a sport completed by Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers.
Blue was among the many gamers who assumed management roles on the A’s and clashed with Finley.
“We had been very younger children,” Jackson stated Sunday. “Vida was from Louisiana and Black, and me being Black, being Black in a white league and a white world, was very impactful as to the way you dealt with your self, the way you acted, since you had been at all times coloured first.”
Finley tried in June 1976 to commerce Blue to the New York Yankees for $1.5 million and Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers to the Boston Purple Sox for $1 million every. Kuhn vetoed the offers below the commissioner’s authority to behave within the “finest curiosity of baseball.” In December 1977, Kuhn stopped Finley from buying and selling Blue to Cincinnati for $1.75 million and minor league first baseman Dave Revering.
Blue was traded to the Giants the next March in a deal that introduced Oakland seven gamers, together with outfielder Gary Thomasson and catcher Gary Alexander.
Blue was dealt to the Royals in March 1982 and launched in August 1983. He was ordered that December to serve three months in federal jail and fined $5,000 for misdemeanor possession of roughly a tenth of an oz of cocaine. Blue was sentenced to at least one yr in jail however U.S. Justice of the Peace Choose J. Milton Sullivant suspended the vast majority of the time period.
Blue did not play in 1984 and was suspended that July 26 by Main League Baseball by means of the rest of the season for unlawful drug use.
He returned to baseball with the Giants for 2 seasons beginning in 1985. Blue was among the many gamers ordered by baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth in 1985 to be topic to random drug testing for the remainder of their careers.
After his 2005 arrest in Arizona on suspicion of DUI for the third time in lower than six years, Blue was sentenced to 6 months in jail after failing to finish his probation. However he was informed he might keep away from incarceration by spending time in a residential alcohol therapy program.
Following his taking part in profession, Blue settled in San Francisco and labored with a number of charitable organizations selling baseball in interior cities, CBS Sports activities reported. He additionally did some tv work.
Blue’s dying got here simply days after theto buy land for a brand new retractable roof ballpark in Las Vegas after being unable to construct a brand new venue within the Bay Space.