(CNN) - Vida Blue, former American League MVP and three-time World Series champion with the Oakland Athletics, died Saturday at the age of 73, the team announced Sunday.

“It is with great sadness that the Blue family mourn the passing of our beloved father Vida Blue,” Blue’s family said in a statement through the Athletics. “Vida was a great father, grandfather, brother, friend, and teammate who will be forever cherished, honored and loved. We appreciate your uplifting prayers as we deal with the overwhelming loss of our father. We ask for respect and privacy during this challenging time.”

Blue was drafted by the then-Kansas City Athletics in the second round of the 1967 draft. He made his Major League Baseball debut two years later in 1969 at the age of 19, in the team’s second year after moving to Oakland.

In his career, Blue pitched 17 seasons with the Athletics, San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals. He finished with a 209-161 record, with a 3.27 ERA and 2,175 strikeouts.

“There are few players with a more decorated career than Vida Blue. He was a three-time champion, an MVP, a six-time All-Star, a Cy Young Award winner, and an Oakland A’s Hall of Famer,” the Athletics said in a statement.

“Vida will always be a franchise legend and a friend. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this arduous time.”