Vida Blue dies at 73: Tributes pour in for three-time Oakland A’s World Series champion and ex-American League baseball MVP
- Vida Blue played for Oakland A’s, Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants
- He won three World Series with the A’s and was a six-time All-Star pitcher
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Vida Blue, the three-time Oakland A’s World Series champion, has passed away at the age of 73, it was announced on Sunday.
Blue was a six-time All-Star and won the American League MVP award in 1971, the year before his first World Series title.
The news was released Sunday morning, as Oakland A’s legend Dave ‘Smoke’ Stewart tweeted, ‘Rest in peace Vida Blue my mentor, hero and friend.
“I remember watching a 19-year-old phenom dominate baseball and change my life at the same time. There are no words for what you have meant to me and so many others. My heart goes out to the Blue family.”
According to the A’s, Blue, who was a pitcher, died Saturday, but did not give a cause of death.
Oakland A’s Vida Blue, who was one of MLB’s biggest draws in the early 1970s, has died at age 73
Blued – a six-time All-Star – helped lead the Swingin’ A’s to three consecutive World Series titles
“There are few players with a more decorated career than Vida Blue,” the team said in a statement on Sunday. “Vida will always be a franchise legend and a friend.”
Blue was named the American League Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player in 1971 after going 24-8 with an 1.82 ERA and 301 strikeouts with 24 complete games, eight of which were shutouts. He remains one of only 11 pitchers to win both awards in the same year.
Blue finished 209-161 with a 3.27 ERA, 2,175 strikeouts, 143 complete games and 37 shutouts over 17 seasons with Oakland (1969-77), San Francisco (1978-81, 85-86) and Kansas City (1982-83) .
More memorably, he helped the Swingin’ A’s, as Charley Finley’s colorful, mustachioed team was known, pitch back-to-back World Series titles from 1972-74. Since then, only the 1998-2000 New York Yankees have accomplished this feat.
After Blue publicly clashed with Finley, the owner of the A traded the pitcher twice but was blocked each time by baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, first in June 1976 for the New York Yankees and then in December 1977 for the Cincinnati Reds.
Kuhn vetoed the deals under the commissioner’s authority to act in the “best interests of baseball.”
“Vida Blue has been a baseball icon in the Bay Area for more than 50 years,” Giants president Larry Baer said in a statement. “His impact on the Bay Area transcends his 17 years on the diamond with the influence he has had on our community.”
Released by the Royals in August 1983, Blue was ordered to serve three months in federal prison in December and fined $5,000 for possession of approximately one-tenth of an ounce of cocaine. Blue was sentenced to one year in prison, but U.S. Magistrate J. Milton Sullivant suspended most of the term.
Blue was one of the players ordered by baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth in 1985 to be subjected to random drug testing for the rest of their career.
After sitting out 1983 and 1984, Blue returned to baseball with the Giants for two seasons.
Following his 2005 arrest in Arizona on suspicion of DUI for the third time in less than six years, Blue was sentenced to six months in prison after failing to complete his probation.
But he was told he could avoid incarceration by spending time in a residential alcohol treatment program.