Former MLB Star Vida Blue Passes
Vida passed away in Tracy, Calif in San Francisco’s East Bay area. His health had been declining just before his death, as at the A’s 50th-anniversary celebration for their 1973 World Series win on April 16, Blue was using a walking stick for assistance.
By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
Legendary in his own way former Major leaguer Vida Blue recently died on Northern California.
Vida passed away in Tracy, Calif in San Francisco’s East Bay area. His health had been declining just before his death, as at the A’s 50th-anniversary celebration for their 1973 World Series win on April 16, Blue was using a walking stick for assistance. He reportedly passed away due to complications with cancer, although the stage and type of cancer has yet to be revealed.
In a statement released by the Oakland Athletics; “There are few players with a more decorated career than Vida Blue,” it said. “He was a three-time champion, an MVP, a six-time All-Star, a Cy Young Award winner, and an Oakland A’s Hall of Famer. Vida will always be a franchise legend and a friend. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this arduous time.”
In his senior year at Desoto high in Louisiana he threw for 3,400 yards and completed 35 touchdown passes while rushing for 1,600 yards. In his senior year of baseball, Blue threw a no-hitter with 21strikouts in just seven innings pitched.
Blue in the second round of the 1967 MLB draft even though he was recruited to play college football for the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, and the University of Houston, Blue chose to sign with the Athletics for $12,500 per year to help support his family after his father’s death.
Blue would energize an entire Major League stadium while running to and from the mound between innings. It was something pitchers didn’t do at that time. He had a high leg kick that could freeze a batter.
He was a switch hitter at the plate and so athletic he was called on to pinch run at times.
In 1971 the hard throwing lefty had a 24–8 record and led the AL with a 1.82 ERA and eight shutouts, striking out 301 batters. He won both the Cy Young Award and American League Most Valuable Player Award. He also led the He led the American League with 24 complete games and 8 shutouts.
He got off to a awesome start, going 10–1 when he linked up with Boston’s Sonny Siebert who was 8–0, in a heavily anticipated May matchup in Boston. The game was won by Siebert and the Red Sox 4–3 and remains what is considered one of the most dramatic games in Fenway Park history. Rumor has it Blue threw so hard some claimed to hear a few of his fastballs hitting the catcher’s mitt while outside the famed ballpark.
He along with Reggie Jackson helped lead the team to world series wins in 1972,1973 and 1974.
In his 16-year career he pitcher for the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals. He finished his career with 209 wins and 2,175 strikeouts with an era of 3.21.
He became a baseball analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area, the TV home of the San Francisco Giants.