Blue, who was a star pitcher for the Oakland A's as well as the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals from 1969-86, grew up and played ball in Louisiana before he was drafted by the pros.
"I didn't know they were going to pay me," he recalled. "I would have played for free."
Blue, 63, who now lives in Tracy, said he occasionally pitches at Little League practices for fun.
"I can still get those kids out," he commented.
But the evening was about the young athletes, not about him, he noted.
"Don't let anyone tell you you can't accomplish your dream because you can," he said. "I'm from Mansfield, La. -- who knew I would play 17 years of professional baseball and win three World Series (1972, 1973, 1974 with the A's)."
He concluded, "Congratulations to all the recipients -- play hard, play fair and play clean."
Willie Harper, a former linebacker for the 49ers, complimented the event and the recognition of the high school athletes.
"Someone has taken notice," he told the athletes," and it up to you to exploit these gifts and talents."
The awards were presented by Dr. B, Sbranti, Mayor Jerry Thorne of Pleasanton, Mayor John Marchand of Livermore, Supervisor Scott Haggerty and Malcolm Brudigam of state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier's office.
Each awardee stepped onto the stage to be handed a trophy and congratulated by Dr. B while videos showed them playing their sport. Then each athlete proceeded across the stage for further congratulations from Vida Blue and the others.
Athletes from Amador Valley High honored were Iris Brand, swimming; Kristina Dunworth, volleyball; Ryan Genn, volleyball; Johanna Grauer, softball; Alysse Ketner, basketball; Kimberly Liu, golf; Grant Miller, football; Kyle Moreno, football; Jena Pianin, cross country; and Marisol Tracy, volleyball.
Athletes from Foothill were Griffith Gates, football; Jamirr Holland, football; Ray Hudson, football; Celina Li, swimming; Steven Patrick, basketball; Alex Sborov, golf; Katie Sborov, golf; and Amanda Tuazon, volleyball.
This was the eighth year for the Tri-Valley Community Television Athlete of the Week awards, and the third year for the Outstanding High School Athletic Awards event.
"Our leagues are doing so well in sports that it's made our job really easy," said Dr. B.
More than 200 people attended the awards ceremony, which was held at the Robert Livermore Community Center in Livermore. It will be shown on TV30 and TV28 starting in mid-June. For a schedule or to buy a DVD of the event, go to www.trivalleytv.org.
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