Blue’s Battles

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While 50 years have passed since Vida Blue put the finishing touches on one of the most magnificent seasons ever compiled by a pitcher, the images of how that kid from a tiny, segregated Louisiana town became a baseball celebrity remain as vibrant as they were in 1971.

Blue, 71, became the talk of the baseball world in what was his first full year in the Major Leagues. He went 24-8 with a 1.82 ERA over 39 starts for Oakland to win both the Cy Young and MVP Awards, earning his place in a select, 11-man club of pitchers who have captured both awards in the same season. Blue was, at the time, just the fifth pitcher to earn that distinction following Don Newcombe [1956], Sandy Koufax [1963], Bob Gibson [1968] and Denny McClain [1968].

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