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Former A’s, Giants pitcher Vida Blue dies at 73

Left-handed pitcher Vida Blue, who won the 1971 AL Cy Young and MVP awards as a 21-year-old, and was a member of three World Series championship teams with the Oakland A’s has died at the age of 73.

Blue’s death was confirmed on Sunday by the A’s in a statement that called him “a franchise legend and a friend.”

Blue made his MLB debut with the A’s as a teenager in 1969, but didn’t make an impact until his breakout season two years later. On a powerful Oakland team that included the likes of Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter and Sal Bando, Blue emerged as the A’s best player — going 24-8 on the mound with a league-leading eight shutouts and a 1.82 ERA.

Blue went on to win 124 games and make three All-Star appearances with the A’s, helping lead them to World Series titles in 1972, 1973 and 1974.

Vida Blue was a three-time World Series champion with the A’s.

In 1978, Blue was traded across the Bay to the San Francisco Giants, where he earned three more All-Star berths in four seasons. In his first season with the Giants, he became the first pitcher in baseball history to start the All-Star Game for both leagues, after getting the nod with the A’s in 1971. Since then, four other pitchers — Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson , Roy Halladay and Max Scherzer — have accomplished the feat.

Blue spent two years in Kansas City before returning to the Giants for two more years and retiring after the 1986 season.

He finished with a record of 209-161 and a 3.27 career ERA.

His death was mourned by many in the baseball community, including protege Dave Stewart, an All-Star and four-time 20-game winner with the A’s.

“Vida Blue rest in peach, my mentor, hero, and friend,” Stewart wrote on Twitter. “There are no words for what you have meant to me and so many others.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Vida Blue, three-time World Series champion pitcher, dies at 73

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