Blue burst onto the scene right as the A’s began their dynasty in the early 1970s. He had 18 games of major league experience prior to the 1971 season, making his debut as a 19 year old in 1969. He posted a 24-8 record in 1971, leading the American League with a 1.82 ERA and a 0.952 WHiP in his 312 innings, striking out 301 batters with 83 walks. Blue made his first All Star team and was named the AL Cy Young and MVP for his performance.
Oakland A’s legend Vida Blue faced highs and lows in majors
While Blue was never able to recapture that form, he still established himself as one of the best pitchers in the game in the 1970s. He was the last remaining ace after the A’s got rid of their stars, a link to their greatness at the beginning of the decade. Blue was a six time All Star in his career, becoming the first player to start the All Star Game as a pitcher for both the AL and NL. He posted a 209-161 record with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.233 WHiP over his 3343.1 innings, striking out 2175 batters.
But Blue’s career was also interrupted by controversy. He had struggled to begin the 1983 season, eventually being released by the Royals. He was swept up in the cocaine scandal that rocked Major League Baseball in the mid 1980s, spending 90 days in prison and being suspended for the 1984 season. Although his career appeared to be over, he was able to return to San Francisco for two more years, serving as a solid piece in their rotation. Blue continued to be a presence in the Bay Area after his career, promoting baseball both stateside and abroad while working on his charitable endeavours.
Former Oakland A’s star Vida Blue has passed away at 73 years old. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this time.