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A’s, Giants iconic pitcher Vida Blue dies

Former A's and Giants pitcher, Vida Blue
Steve Rhodes
Flickr / Creative Commons
Former A's and Giants pitcher, Vida Blue

The A’s announced Blue’s passing in a statement on Saturday. The former All-Star pitcher for the A’s, and later for the San Francisco Giants, was 73. No cause of death was given.

Blue, a native of Mansfield, Louisiana, was originally drafted by the A’s in 1967, when the team was in Kansas City. He made his debut two years later and threw a no-hitter in 1970 against the Minnesota Twins.

In 1971, Blue, relying on a blinding fastball, went 24-8. He was named a starter for the American League in the All-Star game, won the Cy Young award and was voted the American League’s most valuable player.

As a 22-year-old, Blue became a national sensation, making the cover of Time magazine and Sports Illustrated. He was also a major part of the A’s teams that won three consecutive World Series from 1972 to 1974.

Blue’s feud with former A’s owner Charlie FInley over salary led to his trade to the Giants in 1978, where the easygoing hurler remained a local fan favorite.

In 1983, Blue and two teammates with the Kansas City Royals pleaded guilty to attempting to purchase cocaine. He served three months in federal prison and was suspended for the 1984 season.

In 1985, Blue signed with the Giants, where he finished his career the following season. He retired with a career record of 209 wins and 161 losses.

In retirement, Blue served as an analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area, as well as donating his time to various charities.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.