Monday, June 20, 2016
no. 544 - vida blue
Who is the man: Vida Blue was in the midst of the season of his career when this card was released. After appearing in just six games as a September call-up in 1970, Blue would be the talk of baseball in 1971.
Can ya dig it: One of the most memorable cards in the set. A fortuitous bit of photography taken before anyone knew that Blue would win 24 games in 1971.
Right on: I knew this card from the 1975 Topps set. It appeared on one of the MVP subset cards that was in one of the first packs that I ever bought.
You see that cat Blue is a bad mother: Blue was the first pitcher to start for both the AL and the NL in the All-Star Game.
Shut your mouth: When Blue was named starting pitcher for the AL for the 1971 All-Star Game, the Pirates' Dock Ellis said that NL manager Sparky Anderson would never name Ellis the starter for the NL because Anderson didn't like him, and also because "they wouldn't pitch two brothers against each other." Anderson named Ellis the NL starting pitcher.
No one understands him but his woman: Blue appeared on the cover of Time on Aug. 23, 1971, one of the few major league players to ever appear on a Time cover (others include Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Pete Rose, Dwight Gooden and others, but the most recent baseball cover as far as I can tell is in 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series).
(A word about the back): Blue's no-hitter against the Twins occurred in just his 16th major league appearance. And he threw a complete-game one-hitter against the Royals just 10 days earlier.