Oakland A’s legendary pitcher Vida Blue has passed away at the age of 73.
Blue was a key member of the A’s great teams of the 1970’s. He was a key member of Oakland’s teams that won three World Series in a row fro 1972-1974.
Blue was a left-handed power pitcher who threw an occasional curveball to keep hitters off balance and an above average change-up, but his signature pitch was a fastball that threw consistently at 94 miles per hour.
The best season of his career was 1971, Blue had a 24–8 record in 1971, an AL leading 1.82 ERA and 8 shutouts, and struck out 301 batters, winning both the Cy Young and MVP awards.
He also led the American League in complete games (24), shutouts (8) and earned run average (1.82). That season, the Athletics won the American League West title for the franchise’s first postseason berth.
In 1971, he was on the covers of Sports Illustrated and Time magazine. In 1972, his success in baseball led Blue to a small role in the film Black Gunn, starring Jim Brown.
Blue was a six-time All-Star and a three-time World Series Champion. He pitches a no-hitter on September 21, 1970 and a combined no-hitter on September 28, 1975.
For his career, he had 209 wins, 2,175 strikeouts, 143 complete games, 37 shutouts and compiled a 3.27 ERA.
Blue had Hall of Fame talent but battled drug addiction over the course of his career. After the 1983 season, he and former teammates Willie Wilson, Jerry Martin and Willie Aikens pleaded guilty to attempting to purchase cocaine.
In 1985, Blue testified in the Pittsburgh drug trials. Blue’s troubles with substance abuse continued to haunt him after his playing career, as he faced multiple DUI charges in 2005.
In career, Blue played for the A’s, Giants and Royals. After baseball, Blue made a name and career for himself in the San Francisco Bay Area by donating his time to many charitable causes, mostly promoting baseball in the inner city.
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