OAKLAND, Calif. - Friends, family, and fans gathered on Monday night to honor the life of the late Vida Blue at the Sequoyah Country Club in Oakland.
The hard-throwing, left-handed pitcher who saw success with both the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants died in May at the age of 73, from complications from a battle with cancer.
He helped the A’s win three consecutive World Series titles from 1972-1974.
He won the Cy Young and was a six-time All Star.
"As a lot of former players do, we go to the book, the stats, black and white how good was this guy really?" said Randy Winn, former outfielder for the Giants. "I found out, he wasn’t just very good, he was exceptional."
It was the work he did off the field that his friends say they’ll remember most.
"The true measure of the guys in that era was what they contributed to the community," said Raymond Chester, former tight end for the Raiders. "His middle name should’ve been generosity, giving, loving."
Some of the Bay Area’s greatest former professional athletes came to the celebration of life to share stories of his infectious spirit and how he paved the way for some of them.
For his family, his impact was even deeper.
"I think in the last 15 years, our relationship really blossomed," said Derrick Blue, Vida’s son. "I realized, yeah, he was my best friend. You don’t realize these things until people are gone."
While they gathered to honor his life, they also continued his legacy.
Blue started the golf tournament 10 years ago, to raise funds for Northern Light School in Oakland.
"Let’s remember to keep putting that foot forward, helping our community, and that impossible is nothing," said Jared Edgerly, an alumnus of the school.
No question, Vida Blue left an impact every time he put on his uniform. But, it was the man beneath it, whose light will continue to shine.
"The way you talk about Vida today, the kind of person I’m known to be, you get to see the sermon he preached, and he preached that sermon well," said Bubba Paris, former 49ers offensive tackle.