Former MVP left-hander Vida Blue passed away at the age of 73, per an announcement by the Athletics.
“There are few players with a more decorated career than Vida Blue.” the A’s said in a statement, “Vida will always be a franchise legend and a friend. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this arduous time.”
A six-time All Star and three-time World Series champion, Blue played seventeen seasons in the major leagues, with fifteen of them being played in the Bay Area. Blue debuted as a 19-year-old for the Athletics in 1969, their second season in Oakland after moving there from Kansas City after the 1967 season. Blue pitched just 80 2/3 innings over his first two seasons in the majors, but upon shifting into a full time role as a 21-year-old during the 1971 season, Blue would turn in an incredible performance.
Blue pitched 312 innings for the A’s over 39 starts in 1971, posting a microscopic 1.82 ERA that was 83% better than league average by measure of ERA+ and a 2.20 FIP that largely backed up Blue’s dazzling run prevention numbers. Blue’s phenomenal season saw him lead the league with eight shutouts while also posting league-best marks in ERA, FIP, strikeout rate, WHIP. Naturally, Blue’s performance earned him not only the first All Star appearance of his career, but a Cy Young award and the AL MVP award as well.
Blue would go on to pitch six more seasons in Oakland, posting a 3.10 ERA and 3.25 FIP while averaging over 250 innings of work per season. He would make two more All Star appearances, finish top 7 in AL Cy Young award voting three times, and receive MVP votes twice during that time before moving on to San Francisco in 1978 at the age of 28. Most notably, Blue was integral to the A’s three consecutive World Series championships from 1972-1974.
Blue’s first season in San Francisco was another remarkable one, as he posted a 2.79 ERA and 2.68 FIP en route to a fourth All Star appearance, a top three finish in Cy Young award voting, and a 12th place finish in NL MVP voting. He would pitch in San Francisco for three more seasons, picking up another two All Star appearances along the way, before pitching for the Kansas City Royals for two seasons. Blue returned to San Francisco in 1985, posting a 3.82 ERA in 287 2/3 innings between the 1985 and 1986 seasons before retiring at the end of the 1986 campaign.
Overall, Blue finished his playing career with a 209 wins, a 3.27 ERA, and 2,175 strikeouts in 3,343 1/3 innings. Following his playing career, Blue remained a fixture of Bay Area baseball thanks to his charitable efforts and dedication to promoting the sport, both in the US and abroad. We at MLB Trade Rumors offer our condolences to Blue’s family, friends, and all those mourning him today.
RIP. Although I think without the mention of his part in the cocaine scandal of the 1980s, the story of his baseball life is incomplete.
Maybe not the appropriate time though hiflew.
Why not? I am not judging him, but an obituary should tell the story of a person’s life, not just the highlights. Otherwise it is just a lie.
Why not? Because this post is meant to highlight the good things associated with a man whose family might see these comments, that’s why.
Fever Pitch Guy
hiflew – Obituaries are meant only for people who liked/loved the deceased and will miss them, so yeah nothing negative should be included in an obituary. I find it hard to believe anyone over the age of 16 doesn’t realize that, and no offense regardless of your age.
And when Hiflew passes away the report won’t be complete without mentioning his time being a complete idiot here.
On what planet does an obituary mention the bad parts of a person’s life you dummy
Comment is disingenuous and purposefully derogatory.
Your a scumbag.
I hope when you die your obituary talks about all the times you were a POS.
Seriously, what was the point of this comment?
Next time you want to share your thoughts…don’t.
You’re quite the confident idiot to double down on your stupidity.
Your life will be forgotten by all those you previously held dear.
an obituary should tell the story of a person’s life,
For me, and for every single person I know, I want to remember them at their best. I want to hear that they opened homeless shelters not that they used drugs as a kid, or rooted for the NYY.
FWIW, practically everyone does something stupid that they are not proud of.
An clarification to my comment. In fairness to the OP, it’s possible he was misguided. We’ve been conditioned that the first comment in the thread is often from an attention seeker and it’s often one of the worst comments.
Perhaps when hiflew kicks it they will mention kicking puppies and stealing from the orphanage in his obituary? It Obits are a tribute
Coop=Totally agree. What’s the idiot going to do, Go to the wake and hold up a sign? No Class.
Thanks. I know that hiflew knows the game well, but this isn’t about that. MLBTR isn’t attempting a biography or a life story. Sure, if this was a documentary and they left that out, it would not be right. But can you imagine if we had a family member with addiction and in the newspaper it was said that “ol uncle hiflew was a good man who took acid while pitching (hello Dock Ellis!)?
Yes I agree, hiflew is good people. Definitely knows baseball and some hoops too. But yeah the obituary is probably all the highlights and leaving out the lowlights. Maybe the biography comes out in 5 years and provides the details.
Fever Pitch Guy
coop – Exactly! This isn’t Wikipedia here.
I appreciate that Gary you are always kind, .I just have to wonder if when the steroids guys start passing away in a couple decades if those facts will not be mentioned also. Are we going to not mention any flaws with Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, or Raffy Palmeiro?
But obviously I am outvoted here and apparently I am an idiot as well, so I’ll just leave the rest of to your superiority.
Not in an obituary, no.
That’s what biographies are for.
Fever Pitch Guy
flew – Steroids guys have already started passing away.
Remember last year? Jeremy Giambi? He had a very checkered life, to put it nicely. He was even portrayed very negatively in Moneyball. But when his life tragically ended, MLBTR had a very respectful non-negative article.
So you made a mistake, it happens. My recollections of your posts are good ones and that hasn’t changed. Nobody is perfect, I’m certainly not.
BTW – I think the fact you got first post made the perception worse.
Jung Like My Daddy
When writing a piece honoring their life? No. Absolutely not. You don’t mention that.
Wanna do a documentary about the steroids era like a 30 for 30 so younger people can remember parts of history they most likely wouldn’t know? Go for it.
Time and place man. Time and place.
Neither is appropriate right now for mentioning someone’s bad decisions in life.
RIP Vida. I recall being in SF watching him vs. Valenzuela in I believe 1981. That was fun. HOF consideration. Imagine his innings today…
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
United we stand, di-Vida we fall. Sad to hear but lets all chill, Posters, opinions are like butt holes & many of them stink but we’re all entitled to them.
I believe Giambi suffered a beaning, severe enough to cause abject pain, personality changes, and horrible lingering effects. Tragic.
Your ridiculous attack is far worse than anything he said.
Search for obits of Blue, Ted. Every one of them at least mentions his cocaine bust. This one says he did time in prison for it:
Fever Pitch Guy
bronx – You are correct, I brought him up mostly because of the steroids comment as Jeremy was one of the roids guys.
I don’t think hiflew made a mistake at all. His opinion, and he’s entitled to it.
People can agree to disagree. And some of the vitriol spat his way is far worse than mentioning Vida’s slip-ups.
As I said , I saw Vida pitch in 1985, live at the Stick. I wasn’t aware, at the time, of his off-the-field issues. Now, knowing what I do, Vida’s ‘comeback’ of sorts, was amazing. Putting it in that perspective, and knowing many many who have had similar issues, I’d have been proud to shake Vida’s hand.
I read a book written by John Schuerholz. In it he describes how Vida Blue and Jerry Martin came from the Giants and brought in a culture of drugs into the Royals organization and ultimately wrecked several players’ lives.
In 71, I was playing little league during the year of Vida Blue and many of those kid pitchers imitated his high leg kick. But, just like Ron LeFlore, my hero as a young teen, these guys brought their posse into the clubhouse and ruined players lives.
This isn’t a forum for obituaries. It’s a baseball forum. I don’t especially care how many here ganged up and bullied another person posting, especially from behind miles of data walls. Courageous. These bullies are no better,
Got his autograph in 82 at Yankee stadium. He made eye contact with me and told me to do my homework and to stay in school. Good cat. Cocaine or not. Sorry, addiction is a disease. Whole story.
Would you include a man’s prison time in an obituary?
Under certain circumstances, yes I would. People have found redemption after hitting rock bottom.
Would I personally dwell on it here?
I actually saw Vida at Candlestick, in 1985. He pitched against the defending NL Champ Padres, and acquitted himself proudly, whiffing 10 in 7 innings, gaining a no-decision. I remember thinking ‘This guy still has it’…and also thinking what might have been. He was essentially a left-handed Doc Gooden. At their peaks, none were better.
This Blue obit did:
He’s probably a hall of famer without it.
At some point everybody, and I do mean EVERYBODY does something they would look back on with regret, or, which is later viewed negatively.
Remember the culture of the times when something happened. Also remember people make mistakes.
A respectful send-off which is intended to highlight a person’s positive contributions in their life is not the time to drag their skeletons out of the closet. There are better places, and times, to do that.
Allow this version of a celebration of his life to be what it is intended as – respectful. We all know former major leaguers, coaches, scouts, and team staffers visit this site. Be respectful to the memory of their former teammate, colleague, mentor, and possibly inspiration.
I agree with you boss.
But sadly for Vida, his skeletons weren’t in a closet.
Re hiflew’s comment, stunned at the amount of abuse hurled his way for a perfectly valid comment. This is not the NYT, and the above was a career summary, not an obituary. Vida himself was open about his drug problems and revealed in his autobiography that his drug use started in 1972. It culminated in ZERO wins for him in 1983 and 1984, so clearly had a profound impact on his baseball career. I am an native Oaklander and first saw Vida pitch in 1970. I was and am a big fan, but there is no question that his drug use had a significant impact on his career and life as Vida himself stated many times.
Hiflew’s post was offensive and inappropriate. And even Hiflew called this article an obituary, which it is.
There was nothing the least bit offensive about his comment. He merely stated a known fact about Vida’s life that Vida himself talked about regularly with kids and others.. Should we overlook the reason Vida had ZERO wins in 1983-1984? Absurd.
You mentioned obituaries. Nearly every obituary I read today, including at the official MLB website, mentioned that Vida had been suspended for an entire year (1984) by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn for drug use/drug purchases. See below for an example from CNN. Were MLB, CNN, AP, etc. being offensive for mentioning this? Ludicrous.
Blue’s MLB career derailed because of drug issues. Blue was suspended from baseball and served a brief prison sentence for attempting to purchase cocaine, according to MLB.com. He was suspended the entire 1984 season by MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn, before being reinstated in 1985.
I hope there’s braille handlebars on that tone deaf bus you’re riding in. But looks like everyone else got here already. Looking for comments much?
That’s what a comments section is, sport.
I just searched for obituaries of Blue, and every one at least mentioned him being busted for cocaine in the 80s. Here’s one from Distractify:
In 1978, Vida was traded to the San Francisco Giants, but in 1983 while pitching for the Kansas City Royals, he faced a drug scandal. He and several teammates were caught with possession of cocaine, which led to 81 days in prison and a suspension from playing baseball. He played again for the Giants after, but his substance abuse continued to follow him. In 2005, he was arrested on multiple DUI charges. All of this combined, he has suggested, led to his exclusion from the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Years ago, I was talking to a Native American woman from a Northwest tribe. I forget which nation. She said that in her nation, they had a two dat wake. On the first day, everyone gathered round and remembered all the negative things the deceased did. On the second day, they talked only of the positive things about the deceased. Recognizing both the flaws and the good of the individual, but leaving with positive memories. No lies, no coverups. Since that time, I have thought that was the way to go.
RIP Vida, thoughts and prayers going out to your family. Mahalo.
312 innings. phenomenal talent and a phenomenal feat. Like to see one of these guys today even attempt that. Plus he was a power pitcher who pitched every 4th day. RIP. One of my favorites as a Yute as Joe Pesci would say.
Yes and he peaked that year at age 21 and was never quite as good or threw quite as hard. So, maybe having him throw 312 innings in a season at age 21 wasn’t such a good idea for the long term and why very few if any pitchers do that anymore.
Alot of players peak early. Some of that is because they couldn’t possibly keep those outstanding numbers going. Some are adjusted to and others can’t adjust. Blue had an outstanding run after the first couple years. Nobody could keep those numbers up. Also he cannot be compared to pitchers nowadays. It’s almost impossible.
Probably true, Boog.
Catfish Hunter, Vida’s brilliant teammate, also threw a huge number of innings, and was pretty much toast by 1977. Effective when he could pitch, but shot by 1977, and totally done after 1979.
Wonder where he ranks (subjectively) among all Oakland pitchers…top 10..20..30?
He was the A’s best pitcher during their Oakland years for sure. A bit better than Catfish for me.
I wasn’t old enough watch him pitch for the A’s, but he was my favorite pitcher on the late 70s Giants by a wide margin, rocking the VIDA on the back of his jersey.
Those 70s As were more about the sum of the players type team. Ken Holtzman, Catfish Hunter and Vida Blue were the main starters while Paul Lindblad, Darold Knowles and Rollie Fingers came out of the pen.
As far as Blue being mentioned in the same conversation a the great pitchers, I can put him in the Oakland As mix. However, he’s not really in the same class as some of the Philadelphia As great lefties Lefty Grove, Eddie Plank and Rube Waddell.
Well Lefty Grove is in the discussion for greatest pitcher of all time. Eight or nine ERA titles, including several as a lefty in Fenway after he lost his fastball!
Besides Waddell and Plank, Albert Bender and George Earnshaw were pretty good!
I made a list of all time great franchise teams. I put Vida Blue as 6 on the As. If we just use Oakland, I have him as 2 behind Catfish Hunter.
Top ten starters not in order:
Always enjoyed watching him pitch.
Not only some terrific seasons, but also one of the great names in MLB history. RIP Vida!
RIP. As great a pitcher as I’ve ever seen in person. Check out his numbers from 71-81, on some average teams after 1975.
forever on deck
A Bay Area legend – thank you for all the great moments and condolences to the family
I watched him when I was a kid. Unbelievable workhorse in the 70s and early 80s. Thanks for the memories.
He was fun to watch. His pitches always seemed to sweep, for his curveball was great but his fastball always had motion to it, too. Got to sit behind home plate and see that movement firsthand once during his A’s heyday, and it was something i could not really appreciate from the mezzanine nor the upper deck. Rest in Peace, Vida.
one of the greatest SPs of my generation on the greatest team (72-74 As). RIP Vida Blue
Unfortunately we’ve lost some members of those great teams within the last year or so. Ray Fosse, Sal Bando, now Vida Blue. What an incredible collection of talent those teams had. Sad to see us losing these great players but unfortunately it’s a part of life. RIP to all of them and thanks so much for all the great childhood memories. God bless all of you.
Met him when he was pitching in the 80s, interesting good dude
Hung out with Vida at an A’s game years ago. One of the cooler moments of my life. You will be missed. RIP legend
Far too young. I remember that 71 season and he was the talk of baseball. RIP.
All Star starting pitcher in Detroit 1971 vs. Dock Ellis. Reggie Jackson’s HR. Vida pitched vs his childhood hero Willie Mays. So many future HOF players.
Should have been. a Cincinnati Red in 1977, but the largely cash deal was voided by Bowie Kuhn for “not being in the best interest of baseball.” He and Tom Seaver would have been a nice 1-2 combo.
Makes a mental midget out of Kuhn. Todays payroll discrepancy of a quarter million dollars between the mega & small market teams is in the interest of baseball? Practically all baseball commisioners have been complete sellouts over the last 50 years.. Vida was a gamer.
I have to disagree. Finley was selling his players to the highest bidder and was going to pocket the cash.
Kuhn, absolutely made the right move. Finley wasn’t trading these guys in attempt to acquire talent. It would be like Moreno selling Ohtani to the highest bidder and only acquiring money in return. Who on Earth would think such a move was acceptable?
Throughout probably the first seven decades of organized professional baseball (1870’s through the 1930’s) it was common for financially strapped or just miserly owners to sell off talent for cash. Philadelphia’s owners–both Phillies and Athletics–were notorious for doing so from the mid-1910’s up to the war years, notwithstanding Connie Mack’s second Athletics dynasty–though it should be duly noted that Mack eventually liquidated that group for cash as well. Selling off players for cash did not become frowned upon and ultimately all-but banned until the modern post-WW2 era.
That’s a good point to bring up.
Until someone put a stop to it, It was also common for players to take money and throw baseball games.
Voiding the deals was the right move.
Finley tried to sell him to Yanks, not Reds.
I had to look it up, I couldn’t remember. Blue to the Yankees, Fingers and Rudi to the Yankees
I think most fans would agree, Kuhn absolutely did the right thing..
Rudi and Fingers to the Red Sox. Sorry.
Finley tried to sell Vida to the Reds the following year (1977). Kuhn voided that sale as well.
Okay, I see that Finley tried to trade Blue to the Reds a year and half later in Jan 1978 for Dave Reverimg and $1.75 million. I didn’t know that but Kuhn nixed that too.
This one belongs to the Reds
I remember this. This is one kid who is still teed off that trade wasn’t allowed! The Reds media guide that year even had Vida Blue’s bio in it.
He was a heck of a pitcher and a really nice guy. What an incredible 1971 season and career he had. RIP Vida, thanks for the memories.
One of the true Yankee greats
Vida Blue never played for the Yankees !!
Kuhn didn’t allow the sale.
It was a shame the Marlins traded him in the fire sale after 1997. But his performance in the home run derby at Fenway was legendary. At it was cool when he took the basketball world on Vida-sanity.
The marlins never traded vida blue. They were not even a major league team during his career.
Check the batteries in you Sarcasm Detector.
Dr. Van Nostrand
Got me feeling blue today. At least it’s a beautiful day outside. RIP Vida
A legend. Rest in power 🙁
One of my favorite players. This makes me very sad. R.I.P. and Godspeed Mr. Blue.
Vida Blue was one of my favorites on Charles O Finley’s A’s. Just a treat to watch him pitch. Also, he was the answer to one of my favorite trivia questions: Who was the last switch hitter to win the MVP award? Vida Blue!
Another reason for long time A’s fans to be bummed. RIP Vida Blue.
I blame it on Willson Contreras.
Totally agree, and yet another reason to move him from behind the plate for the next two weeks or so!
Legend of the game, and if I had a vote a HoFer. RIP.
RIP Vida, true legend
When he come on the baseball scene it was WOW.. Those Oakland teams, they were something else. Findley was a showman, and he put on some shows with his teams. Vida, and Reggie stood out. Life goes by just too darn fast.
Vida Blue was one of my most cherished baseball cards when I first started collecting as a kid. RIP Vida.
There are consecutive cards of Bud Black and Vida Blue in the 1983 Fleer set. Put them together and you have a picture of them posing together.
I also saw them start both ends of a doubleheader in 1983 at Comiskey Park.
My mom stopped at store she usually didn’t go to & got me & my brother a couple packs of baseball cards. I got Vida Blue & I was the talk of the neighborhood all summer. What a great memory! RIP Mr. Blue
Bill the Cat
Always one of my fave players as a young boy growing up in the Bay Area. Sad, sad news…..
One of the players to question baseball when Finley refuse to give him a raise for his Cy Young year.
He definitely had a stormy relationship with Finley for good reasons. I cannot confirm this, but I read a story years ago that the reason he had his first name only on the back of his jerseys was because Finley asked him to change his name to True Blue, and so Vida did it to irritate Finley.
If my memory serves, he went to work for a toilet company.
There were toilet posters in the Oakland Colosseum. I can’t remember whose side they took.
Everyone remembers how great he was on those A’s champions, but Vida was also really good on a lot of mediocre to awful teams in the years following. Granted he might have declined some in talent, but his numbers suffered due to lack of talent around him as well. R.I.P.
That ‘77 team was pretty brutal.
This one belongs to the Reds
Sad to see. Remember him well. Much too young. RIP.
all in the suit that you wear
Vida Blue was a great pitcher who snagged that 1969 Cy Young award away from one of the most underrated pitchers of the 60’s and 70’s, Mickey Lolich.
Led the A.L. in wins, 26, K’s 308 (Tigers team record), complete games 29, starts 45, innings 376,
Mickey is still with us. RIP Mr. Blue.
Sad to see the loss of another legend that I grew up watching and idolizing as a kid.
You had to be there in 1971. He was the next Koufax, or at least semi-close. Nearly unhittable.
The Great Vida Blue. Man this guy was dominating in his time. One of the many great players on this early 70’s A’s teams. He could just throw his glove out on the field and beat my Halo’s.
His stats are amazing. All the complete games. Something you very rarely see now.RIP Mr. Blue. Thank you for the memories.
You were a GREAT pitcher. Maybe someday you will be in the HOF.
Part of the great A’s team of the early 70’s, the first I ever followed when started to watch baseball. RIP and my condolences to his family.
Part of the great A’s team of the early 70’s, the first baseball team I ever followed when started to watch baseball. RIP and my condolences to his family.
Dang, I’ll always remember him as part of those flashy, but very good Oakland A’s teams of the 70’s. RIP VIDA !!
Met Vida Blue at a Midland Rockhounds banquet in 2022 on in Midland Texas he took Andre Dawson place and I got him to autograph a baseball ⚾ and a 8 x 10. Also the Midland Newspaper put me getting Vida Blue autograph. R.I.P. Vida Blue
Vida Blue RIP!
Amazing pitcher on those Dynastic Oakland A’s World Championship teams
of the 1970’s! Very dominant rotation with: Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Ken Holtzman and Blue Moon Odom! And, Rollie Fingers was automatic as the Closer.
And, Vida Blue had some great seasons with the SF Giants also.
As Reggie Jackson has stated, those Oakland A’s Dynastic teams were the best teams he ever played on (including the Yankees Championship clubs).
As Jackson and others have stated, if Charlie O Finley had kept those A’s teams intact and if Finley hand not torn the Dynastic A’s down in a “fire sale”, then those A’s teams could have won or 3 or more additional World Series titles in that era.
A’s Owner Charles O Finley was a colorful, cantankerous and flamboyant A’s owner whose many brilliant ideas still survive in MLB,
including: the Designated hitter, colorful uniforms, night baseball to generate more fans after work and billions more in TV revenues, ball girls, team mascots, fan friendly promotions and much more.
Charles O Finley was his own GM who hired his cousin to help him with Front Office duties. Finley would “pick the brains” of other Owners, Scouts, GMs etc
and then Out draft and Out Trade most major league ballclubs during that era.
The Reds of the Big Red Machine were the A’s Closes competitors in that Era.
Finley fought, constantly,
with the baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn like Al Davis fought with the NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle.
Finley’s major drawbacks included his terrible relations with his players
( The A’s clubhouse was the scene of frequent brawls and shouting matches).
Finley ticked off his players with some of his antics including cutting the pay of star players like Reggie Jackson when his stats went down slightly one year.
Finley openly played “hardball” and personally negotiated many of his player deals creating animosity with many players who felt, rightfully so, that Finley was too cheap and not paying them market value for their services.
Hall of Fame Manager Dick Williams was so angry with Finley that he quit after winning 2 Consecutive World Series Titles in Oakland and left the 3rd Title in a row to a new manager.
Finley’s antics happened when players and the Union were starting to challenge the Owners’ monopoly on negotiating salaries and the Owners’ dominant unequal bargaining position in MLB that lead to free agency.
Finley could have been smarter with his star players and locked up his stars with team friendly longer term deals, but he was not wired for that.
Charles O Finley (and George Steinbrenner) both belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame in my book as game changing MLB Executives/Owners.
Vida Blue: it was a Joy to watch him pitch!
Vida Blue is a Hall of Famer in my book! (Veterans Committee?!).
We will miss you!
Great guy. He was part of a group of older players who signed at A’s games in spring training for years.
He’d actually talk with you and tell stories. One year I sat there for about 20 minutes with him and Bert Campeneris listening to Vida compare the A’s dynasty to others.
Shame that he never got to the hall in his lifetime. Arguably the best pitcher of the 1970’s. Three time World Champ, CY, MVP, 6 AS. Hopefully someday he gets the honor and respect he deserves. RIP
RIP Vida Blue. was an incredibly gifted pitcher. also a super kind human being. he will be missed in the baseball world.
A truly great pitcher, for several years.
My mind plays tricks on me sometimes, but I swear at the end of his career, he threw his fastball at least 90% of the time, back when I didn’t pay much attention to things like that, I noticed all he seemed to throw were fastballs
rest in peace
Giants had a real nice moment of silence and some great words about vida before the game today. I used to listen to vids on the radio in the Bay Area a lot after games will forever miss his insight and knowledge about the game.
How big a deal was Vida Blue?
He was 17-3 at the all-star break. The Yankees… The YANKEES, painted a ticket booth BLUE and said that anyone who could prove their name was also Blue, could get in free when Vida came to pitch.
That’s how big he was.
Rest easy, Vida.
Nicest man I ever met… signed all over our cards in 1996
Nicest person I ever met. RIP VIDA
He was involved in the trade to the Giants with my friend, pitcher John Henry Johnson.
Got my first ball at Candlestick, hit into the upper deck by Vida during batting practice.
I just Googled Vida’s bio.
As it happens, when I saw him as a Giant in 1985, it was after his troubles (and I’ll leave it at that). As I said, I watched him pitch. He looked like the same smooth, powerful lefty he’d been right across the bay, 14-15 years earlier. The Pads were a good hitting team. He had then bottled and throttled. To think he was able to do that after all he’d been through… Is amazing.
Does it need to be dwelled upon now? Of course not. Vida (which means life) achieved heights we all dreamed of as kids in our backyards.
The last time I saw Vida pitch live as an Oakland A, was 1973 at Yankee Stadium. It was Old Timers Day. Mickey Mantle hit a HR into the left field stands after pal Whitey Ford grooved him one. Vida pitched the regular game. The A’s won.
I sat in the first base side. Geez, his motion was smooth. And that ball just popped!
RIP Vida Blue. Can’t believe in 1983 he started 14 starts and went 0-5.
For me, here’s the bottom line:
1. ALMVP in 1971
2. WS rings in 1972/’73/’74
Not many players in the history of MLB will be able to make that claim.
Way to overshadow his career by posthumously applying all the sabermetrics nonsense to it. RIP sir.
RIP Vida. I was a kid in 1971 – I remember Vida being a huge sensation that year, he became a household name.
Always fun to take a trip down memory lane. Him and guys like Gooden can be used as an example of NEVER having a 21 year old throw 300 innings. Or even 200.
This one belongs to the Reds
200 is doable and used to be a standard for starters. Pitch counts ruined that and a lot of arms. Guys used to throw more between starts too.
300 though…no way. That’s just bananas.
The Tigers destroyed Mark Fydrich’s arm and career.
As a rookie, they overworked him with 250 innings pitched and 24 complete games.
They destroyed his arm.
It was before Tommy John surgery.
They found out much later that in subsequent years, he was pitching
with a bad arm and Tommy John would have fixed his arm.
Fydrich and other pitchers of that era were not built up and ready to throw that many innings at the beginning of their careers.
Not every pitcher has an “iron man” arm like a Mickey Lolich.
Billy Martin destroyed a young Oakland A’s pitching staff by overworking them to the extreme. Martin did not trust his bullpen. So, he just left all his young starters out there as long as he could without their arms falling off.
They made the playoffs, but none of those young Oakland starters was ever the same again.
Nowadays, with specialists in the bullpen and babying of your top prospects to protect a team’s investment, they would never allow such blatant overuse to happen.
Your comment is long on opinion but short on facts. Vida pitched 38 innings in his rookie year (1970), not 250. If you are referring to 1971, he pitched 312 innings, and, no, it most definitely did not destroy his arm unless you can explain how a destroyed arm won another 180+ (!) games after 1971 despite missing nearly two full years (1983-1984) due to drug issues. Vida averaged 236 innings pitched and 17+ wins per year from 1973-1980. He could not have accomplished that with a “destroyed” arm.
R.I.P. One thing I remember about him and Chili Davis is that when the were with the Giants, they both had their first names on the backs of their jerseys.
Vince Ferragamo's Dog
A’s rode his young arm long n hard to 3 World Championships, all those innings ate em up by time he was 30, what coulda been RIP Vida
RIP Vida. Above and beyond being an all time great on the field, you were an all time great as a person. One of the nicest guys I have had the pleasure of spending time with. Working with you on charitable events has been one of the highlights of my life. You will be sorely missed. My condolences to your family and friends and hope they can draw some comfort in knowing how well loved you are.
Vida Blue was fantastic – his stats are so very HOF close but if they inducted harold baines then Vida should be in.
Although outside 1971 he was very good but did not dominate as leading league in much of anything.
The problem is 1983-84 its a dark cloud but not like BALCO years.
This one belongs to the Reds
The Show has a tribute to Vida on it. Well done!