SAN FRANCISCO—Six time All-Star Vida Blue passed away at age 73 on Saturday, May 6. According to Athletics’ team officials, Blue died as a result of medical complications stemming from cancer at a hospital located in the East Bay area of San Francisco.
“There are few players with a more decorated career than Vida Blue,” the statement from The Oakland Athletics read. “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.”
Blue was born in the state of Louisiana on July 28, 1949. He was the oldest of six children. By the time he was in high school he pitched for the baseball team and quarterbacked the football team. In his senior year of football, 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 21 strikeouts in just seven innings pitched.
Blue was drafted by the then-Kansas City Athletics in the second round of the 1967 draft. Blue made his Major League Baseball debut two years later in 1969 at the age of 19, in the team’s second year after moving to Oakland. He was the youngest pitcher to become an MVP. Blue was a left-handed pitcher who helped lead the Oakland Athletics to three World Series championships in a row from 1972 to 1974 and made six All-Star teams.
By 1971, he was voted the 1971 American League Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player after going 24-8 with a 1.82 ERA and 301 strikeouts with 24 complete games, eight of them shutouts.
In September 1989, Blue married Peggy Shannon on the pitcher’s mound at Candlestick Park. His best man was former teammate Willie “Mac” McCovey and Orlando Cepeda escorted Shannon to the mound. The couple had two twin girls.
“He was engaging. He was personable. He was caring,” ex-teammate Reggie Jackson said during an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, May 7.
Once he retired from baseball, Blue relocated to the Twain Harte region in the Sierra Nevada. During his retirement he became a baseball analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area, the TV home of the San Francisco Giants.