Vida Blue, a former pitcher who helped the Oakland Athletics win three straight World Series championships in the 1970s, has died, the team announced Sunday. He was 73 years old.
Blue made his A’s debut at the age of 19 in 1969. He played for the A’s for nine years before joining the San Francisco Giants and then the Kansas City Royals. He had two seasons with the Giants in his career.
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Oakland issued a statement regarding Blue’s death.
«There are few players with a more decorated career than Vida Blue,» Atlético said. “He was a three-time champion, MVP, six-time All-Star, Cy Young Award winner, and Hall of Famer for the Oakland Athletics. Vida will always be a franchise legend and friend. We send our deepest condolences. to his family and friends during this difficult time.»
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Blue was at the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1973 World Series-winning team in April. The cause of death was not announced.
«Vida Blue has been a Bay Area baseball icon for more than 50 years,» added Larry Baer, Giants President and CEO. «His impact in the Bay Area transcends his 17 years on the diamond with the influence he has had in our community. For many years, he was such an integral part of our Junior Giants program. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this time.»
Blue won the AL MVP and Cy Young Award when he dazzled in 1971. He had 301 strikeouts and led the league with a 1.82 ERA. He also led the majors with eight shutouts.
Beginning in 1972, Oakland would start their three-peat World Series. The A’s defeated the Cincinnati Reds that year, the New York Mets in 1973, and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974. Blue had 22 strikeouts in eight World Series game appearances, but never earned a winning decision.
«Vida Blue rest in peace my mentor, hero and friend,» former A’s pitcher Dave Stewart wrote on Twitter. «I remember watching a 19-year-old phenom dominate baseball while changing my life. There are no words for what you have meant to me and so many others. My heart goes out to the Blue family.»
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Azul made 502 appearances in 17 seasons. He was 209-161 with 2,175 strikeouts. He was a six-time All-Star.