Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday #65 to former big league hurler Vida Blue.
Vida Rochelle Blue was born on July 28, 1949, in Mansfield, Louisiana.
Blue attended De Soto High School in Mansfield and went to college to play baseball for the Jaguars of Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge.
The Kansas City Athletics drafted Blue in the 2nd round of the 1967 amatuer draft.
Vida made his big league debut for the Athletics, now the Oakland A's, on July 20, 1969, at the age of 19.
On September 21, 1970 Blue tossed a no hitter against the Minnesota Twins.
Blue's only mistake that day was a 4th inning walk to future HOFer Harmon Killebrew.
1971 was Vida Blue's best year in the big leagues, and one of the best pitching performances in big league history.
Blue compiled a amazing 24-8 record, and a ERA of just 1.82.
Blue logged an impressive 312 innings pitched, striking out 301 American League batters.
Blue led the A. L. In hits allowed per nine innings, 6.029, shutouts, 8, and the 1.82 ERA.
Blue was the American League starting pitcher for the '71 All-Star Game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.
Vida Blue's fantastic '71 season was completed with the A.L. Cy Young Award and A.L. Most Valuable Player Award.
From his 1969 debut, through the 1977 season, Vida Blue won 124 games for the A's, had a ERA of 2.95, struck out 1,315 hitters, pitched 28 shutouts, and completed 105 of his 262 starts.
With Vida Blue in the starting rotation the Oaklan A's won five consecutive A.L. West Division Titles, 1971-72-73-74-75, and three straight World Series Championships in '72-'73-'74.
Vida Blue was sold by the A's to the New York Yankees in June of 1976, and three days later the sale was voided by Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn.
Commissioner Kuhn also voided the A's trade of Blue to the Cincinnati Reds on 1977.
Both transactions involving Vida Blue were denied by Bowie Kuhn in "the BEST interests of baseball."
Two years later, on March 15, 1978, Blue was traded by Oakland across the bay to the San Francisco Giants.
Vida won 18 games for the Giants in '78, his fourth 20 win season.
In 1978 Vida Blue became the first pitcher in baseball to start for both the A.L. and the N.L. in an All-Star Game.
The Giants traded Blue to the Kansas City Royals on March 30, 1982, and after two seasons with the Royals Blue became a free agent, and returned to San Francisco in 1985.
Vida Blue finished his big league career with the Giants on October 2, 1986.
In his 17 year big league career Vida Blue compiled a 209-161 record, a 3.27 ERA, 2,175 strikeouts, pitching 37 shutouts, 143 complete games, a no hitter, Cy Young Award, and MVP Award. in 3,343 1/3 innings pitched.
Vida Blue has given back to baseball, giving his time and effort to improve inner city baseball in the San Francisco Bay area.
Happy Baseball Birthday Vida!