Vida Blue was one of the most popular players of his time on both sides of the bay. The left-handed pitcher starred for the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants over 17 seasons in MLB, including three World Series championships with the A’s from 1972 to 1974. He won 209 games and was a six-time All-Star. He also won the American League MVP and Cy Young awards in 1971. He is regarded as one of the best pitchers in baseball history.
Born in 1949 in Louisiana’s DeSoto Parish, Blue exhibited sporting talent from an early age, excelling at football and baseball. He decided to pursue the latter, and after completing a 21-strikeout no-hitter in his high school’s senior season, was signed by the A’s in 1967.
Blue was known for his flashy name, electrifying personality and signature delivery that unleashed a scorching fastball. The A’s released a statement Sunday morning, confirming that the legendary baseball player died late Saturday night. It did not provide a cause of death, but friends said Blue had been suffering from an undisclosed illness.
During his career, Blue played for the A’s (1969-1977), San Francisco Giants (78-81 and 1985-86) and Kansas City Royals (82-83). He was a member of the A’s dynasty that won three consecutive World Series titles during the 1970s. He was a fan favorite, and the Giants observed a moment of silence for him before Sunday’s game against the Brewers at Oracle Park.
Aside from his prowess on the field, Blue was also a popular figure in the community. He often spoke to children in the Bay Area, and he took a particular interest in youngsters who were struggling with homelessness. He once pulled a young boy aside and discussed his own troubles with him, the Washington Post reported in 2021.
He was also active in charity work and was involved with the Oakland Museum of Modern Art, the AIDS Foundation of California and other organizations. Blue was also a supporter of LGBT rights, and he once addressed a crowd at the Castro in San Francisco to advocate for gay marriage.
Despite his struggles with addiction, Blue remained an enduring part of the Bay Area sports scene. He was a popular figure with fans on both sides of the bay, and he was known for his charisma and kindness. He will be missed.