Vida Blue to Speak at Winter Banquet

November 29, 2010 12:04 PM ET

Burlington, IA (November 29, 2010) - The 8th Annual Burlington Bees/Friends of Community Field Winter Banquet will be held on Friday, January 14th in the PZAZZ! Convention & Events Center. This year's event will feature former Bee and Major League pitcher Vida Blue as the keynote speaker. The event will also include an exciting line of autographed memorabilia and collectible items that can be purchased through auctions or won through a raffle.

Blue was born and raised in Mansfield, Louisiana. He was drafted by the Kansas City A's in the 2nd round of the 1967 draft. At the age of 18, Blue made his professional debut right here in Burlington, playing the entire 1968 season with the Bees. The left-handed pitcher collected 8 wins that season with a 2.49 ERA. He struck out an amazing 231 batters in just 152 innings pitched that year. Blue started the 1969 season in Birmingham (AA) before getting called up to the Majors at the age of 19. The following season, he pitched a no-hitter against the Twins.

Blue's first full season in the big leagues (1971) proved to be his best. That season he won 24 games, had an ERA of 1.82 and struck out 301 batters in 312 innings. Blue won both the Cy Young and MVP Awards that year. Only one pitcher (Roger Clemens) has won the MVP since Blue.

Blue spent nine seasons with the A's, six in San Francisco, and two seasons with the Kansas City Royals before retiring in 1986. He played 17 seasons in the big leagues recording 209 wins with a 3.27 ERA. Blue helped lead the A's to three straight World Series titles from 1972-1974. He was a 6-time All-Star selection over his career.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $50 each or $350 for a table of eight. The festivities start with a cocktail hour and the opening of the silent auction at 6:00 p.m. A full dinner will be served buffet-style starting at 7:00. Blue will not only address those in attendance, but leave time for a question and answer session as well. The evening will be wrapped up at approximately 9:30.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling the Bees at (319) 754-5705.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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