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Remembering Vida Blue

May 8, 2023

The cold, hard reality of (even my) habitual looks, with ubiquitous phones and the seemingly inevitable harsh news, often death, struck again, as that was how I learned/saw that the great pitcher and truly cool guy, Vida Blue (maybe I can still decipher his writing “Remember the Firebird,”– I had a ’72 version, bought not by me in ’76) had died, far too young at age 73.

Oh “73” as in 1973, when Vida and the Oakland Athletics made it two straight World Series wins, eventually three, topping previous long, essentially forgotten, great Philadelphia Athletics’ accomplishments (3 straight pennants beating out Ruth/Gehrig Yankees’ teams ’29-’31 and winning it all in ’29 and ’30 and 4 pennants in 5 seasons, titles in 1910, 1911 and 1913 from 1910-1914, the “Miracle” Boston Braves swept them in 1914).

Blue, who had many great post-season moments for Oakland (some bad ones also) pitched a brilliant 2 hit shutout in game 3/1974 ALCS at Baltimore, giving the A’s a (2-1) ALCS lead in what was a best of 5 series.

I go back to September 21, 1970 when Blue, still months away from what would be a superb 1971 season, hurled a no hit game vs the soon to clinch the “div,” Minnesota Twins.

Vida had so many great moments in helping the great A’s (only the Yankees and Canadiens twice each and Celtics ever topped their feat of 3 straight crowns) and later pitched well for the contending 1978 S.F. Giants.

A highlight, probably “The,” for Blue was when he relieved another “Blue,” (John “Blue Moon” Odom) and hurled 4 scoreless innings as Oakland held a (2-1) lead and won by that score in #5 ’72 ALCS, giving the Athletics their first pennant in 41 years.  

It was when Vida was with the ’85 or ’86 Giants that I saw him working for ABC, at Shea Stadium.

At the time, I mentioned we had talked via phone in 1976 when I told him about the Firebird.

He signed a baseball “Remember the firebird.”

I will remember you Vida Blue as a pitching great and a cool, nice man.

Wish it was years down the road, but good luck pitching in heaven in the near future. On class and people skills, alone, you made it but far too soon.

Click below for a 2021 post regarding a great LCS won by the A’s in the maximum 5 games vs the Detroit Tigers.


Vida Blue, decorated Oakland A's pitcher and three-time World Series champion, dies at 73

Vida Blue, pictured above.

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