Berth in Cooperstown eludes Vida Blue

Monday, Dec. 6

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — For certain periods throughout his 17-year Major League career, Vida Blue looked like a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate. But Blue’s overall performance failed to impress enough members of the HOF’s Expansion Era committee, who bypassed him for enshrinement.

Pat Gillick, the highly successful general manager with Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle and Philadelphia, was the only one of the 12 candidates to receive the necessary 12 votes from the 16-member committee to gain election.

Any Giants fan who watched Blue pitch in 1978 might have considered the left-hander bound for Cooperstown. He led that year’s revival of the Giants, who contended for most of the season and finished 89-73 after four consecutive sub-.500 seasons, by finishing 18-10 with a 2.79 ERA. That was Blue’s first of six seasons (in two stints) with the Giants, who sent Oakland seven players and $300,000 to obtain him. The cost was well worth it.

Blue’s career totals were 209-161 with a 3.27 ERA and 37 shutouts. He met or came close to meeting plenty of Hall of Fame standards, but ultimately not enough of them. It matters little to longtime Giants fans, most of whom still regard Blue as a favorite.

— Chris Haft  

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