Vida Blue, the Oakland Athletics star pitcher who helped lead the team to three straight world championships in the early 1970s, died at age 73, the Athletics announced Sunday.
The cause of death wasn’t disclosed.
“There are few players with a more decorated career than Vida Blue,” the A’s said in a statement. “He was a three-time champion, an MVP, a six-time All-Star, a Cy Young Award winner, and an Oakland A’s Hall of Famer. Vida will always be a franchise legend and a friend. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this arduous time.”
Blue played 17 seasons in the major leagues from 1969-86. He started his career in Oakland, where he was a key contributor to the franchise’s three straight World Series championships from 1972-74 and five straight West Division titles from 1971-1975.
In 1971, the left-hander became the youngest MVP in major league history when he achieved the honor at the age of 21. In that season, Blue went 24-8 with a 1.82 ERA in 39 starts. He also struck out 301 batters and recorded 24 complete games for the A’s. Blue received his lone Cy Young award for that stellar season.
He was selected by the Kansas City A’s in the second round of the 1967 MLB Draft out of De Soto High School in northwestern Louisiana. He made his debut with the A’s two years later at the age of 19. It was also the franchise’s second year after moving from Kansas City to Oakland.
He went on to make six All-Star teams in his career. Blue also played for the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals.
He finished his career with a 209-161 record with a 3.27 ERA in 502 total games. He made 473 starts and recorded 143 complete games.