SF Giants and Oakland A's icon Vida Blue passes away at 73

New York Mets v Oakland Athletics
New York Mets v Oakland Athletics / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The baseball community received some unfortunate news on Sunday as it was announced that former SF Giants and Oakland A's icon Vida Blue passed away. He was just 73 years old.

SF Giants and Oakland A's icon Vida Blue passes away at 73

Blue appeared in parts of 17 seasons with the A's, Giants, and Kansas City Royals. He served two separate stints with San Francisco, finishing his career with the club after the 1986 season. The Giants released a statement following the news of his passing:

There are not many players who impacted baseball in general and the Bay Area community in particular like Blue did. The hard-throwing pitcher earned the AL Cy Young award in 1971 after posting a 1.82 ERA, 2.20 FIP, 0.95 WHIP, 8.7 K/9, and a 3.42 SO/W ratio across 312 innings as a 21-year-old.

He had a meteoric rise to stardom in a way that was similar to Tim Lincecum in that he went from promising, young starting pitcher to one of the best in the game seemingly overnight. However, it was not just Blue's impact on the field.

Blue emboldened his fellow players by holding out over a contract dispute in the following season. He and the A's eventually agreed to a deal, but he proved that players have a lot of leverage in contract discussions. For years, that was not the belief held by baseball players. He, along with Curt Flood, challenged the reserve clause in baseball that was eventually abolished in 1975, giving way to the advent of free agency. Today's players owe a lot to the groundwork paved by Blue, Flood, and many others.

Blue finished his career with 209 wins and a 3.27 career ERA to go along with one Cy Young award and six All-Star selections. Three of those All-Star nods came with Oakland and the other three came with San Francisco.

In his post-playing career, Blue was staple along former Giants pitcher Bill Laskey on the postgame show on KNBR. This is obviously a very tough and emotional day for Blue's friends and family like Laskey:

We at Around the Foghorn would like to extend our deepest condolences to Blue's friends and family. His impact on the game was tremendous and his legacy will live on.