On April 20 , 1986 – Vida Blue of the San Francisco Giants wins his 200th career game, combining with Jeff Robinson to shut out the Padres, 4 – 0.
The 36 year old will win 9 more games and retire after spring training in 1987.
Blue was a free agent after the season and signed with the A’s for 1987, but abruptly retired during spring training. It was rumored that he had tested positive for drugs and retired rather than face another possible drug suspension. In announcing his retirement, Blue suggested that he still struggled with drug addiction, stating, “I reached the point where I had to choose between baseball and life.” In an autobiography published in 2011, he indicated that he had struggled with substance abuse for much of his career: “Along with all the glory that I’d achieved, there was a growing darkness reaching for me. And the light began to dim as early as 1972.” It makes one wonder what his career might have been but for his struggle with drugs.
He will finish his career with a record of 209 – 161 with a career 3.27 ERA, his best season was in 1972 when he won the Cy Young and MVP Award. He played on 3 Championship teams, although he himself was 1-5 with a 4.31 ERA in the playoffs. Perhaps his time in Kansas City derailed his path to Cooperstown, but Blue compares to several Hall of Famers including teammate Catfish Hunter, Don Drysdale and Hal Newcomb.