Vida Blue was the last American League player to accomplish this rare feat
from Adam Gretz, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com
The Oakland A’s announced on Sunday morning that former All-Star pitcher Vida Blue died at the age of 73.
Blue spent 17 years in the major leagues, including nine with the A’s. During that time he helped the team win three World Series titles, while also taking home a Cy Young and MVP award during the 1971 season.
That 1971 MVP award remains historic and is the answer to one of baseball’s toughest trivia questions.
Blue is still, technically speaking, the last switch-hitter to win the American League MVP award and one of only two switch-hitters to ever win that award, joining New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle on that list. The designated hitter had not been introduced to the American League during that season, and since Blue hit from both sides of the plate he is the last such player to win that award in the American League.
Even though he won the award for his pitching and not his hitting he, still gets that title.
Blue was also the first pitcher to ever start the All-Star game for both the American and National Leagues. He started the 1971 and 1975 games as a member of the A’s for the American League, and also started the 1978 game as a member of the San Francisco Giants for the National League.
Since then, only four other pitchers have ever accomplished that feat: Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay and Max Scherzer.
During his 17-year career Blue compiled a 209-161 record with a 3.27 ERA. He averaged over 250 innings pitched during his prime years and was regarded as one of the hardest throwing left-handed pitchers of all-time. Along with the 1971 Cy Young and MVP Awards and the three World Series rings, he also pitched in six All-Star games.