Oct 1, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Hudson (17) acknowledges fans after leaving the game in his final MLB career appearance during the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco Giants officially said good-bye to starting pitcher Tim Hudson before Saturday’s game. Hudson, although he has only been a Giant for two years, has made such an impact, his teammates have spent the last several days honoring him‒one way or another.
On a recent road trip the entire team dressed out in Tim Hudson civvies from the white polo shirt and khakis that is Hudson’s off-the-field uni, to the skull caps covering their hair. One afternoon in the clubhouse, the cameras caught the team all dressed in Hudson jerseys sporting the number 17. There seemed to be a recurring theme: Tim Hudson will be sorely missed.
Hudson has been a mentor, big brother and he quickly became a clubhouse favorite. The only thing he was missing in his 17-year career‒championship hardware. He made no secret when he signed on last year that the one thing he wanted before he said good bye to the game he loves: a World Series ring.
He came to the right place.
Hudson started his big league career across the bay. He was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the sixth round of the 1997 amateur draft, and made his big league debut June 8, 1999 against Bruce Bochy’s San Diego Padres. He pitched five innings and allowed three runs on seven hits and four walks. But he struck out eleven‒that is an amazing strike out count for a rook.
Hudson’s next outing, five days later, the A’s played another NLWest team‒the Dodgers. Hudson pitched seven innings, allowed two runs (1 earned) on seven hits and two walks. He struck out eight. And he notched his first big league win. Against the Dodgers. How about that? He was a good Giant even when he was an Oakland A.
Hudson left Oakland in 2005 when he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. He pitched for the Braves through the 2013 and then came to San Francisco in 2014 for the last two seasons of his career. He’s been a much-needed and effective addition to the Giants starting rotation.
My friend and constant reader, Richard Bagatta, told me that Hudson made him think of the song “Old Man River.” See, Richard was born and raised in New York, so when you say river, he thinks “Hudson” and he asked me if I could write a song about Tim Hudson to the tune of “Old Man River.”
I could not. I’m not clever like Ashkon or Weird Al Yankovic. I can string some words together that make a sentence occasionally. Alliteration–I’m surprisingly smooth and sophisticated. Metaphors and similies‒I take to those like a duck to water. But rhyming? Or an attempt at some sort of rhythmic wording? Not so much. But I said I’d try, and this is all I have: “Old man pitcher, that old Hudson pitcher, he just keeps throwing along.” There it is, Richard, not much, but I expect you to sing it when you think of Huddy.
Hudson spoke to the crowd, thanking the trainers, doctors, coaches and teammates, but he choked up a little when he talked about what the fans mean to him, so he wrapped it up quickly saying “y’all are the best fans in all the sports, much less Major League Baseball. I appreciate y’all, and I love y’all and let’s win a ball game.”
That’s just what the Giants did.
Kelby Tomlinson started it off in the first inning by hitting an inside the park home run. It got out to triples alley and the Rockies outfielders kind of kicked it around. It seemed like they were both trying to figure out who was going to field it.
In the meantime, Kelby put his wheels in motion and when Roberto Kelly waved him on he didn’t hesitate–he slid over home plate just under the tag. It was the ninth inside the parker in AT&T history. Bochy, after the game, said that an inside the parker is one of the most exciting plays in baseball. That one sure was.
Not to be outdone by the rookie, veteran Marlon Byrd followed up with a solo shot that landed in the bleachers. Crawford, who until Byrd arrived on the scene was the Giants home run leader, led-off the fourth with a solo home run that landed on top of the garden. It was his 21st big fly.
Jake Peavy led the Giants on to the field and pitched five innings. He allowed one run‒a home run‒five hits and one walk. He struck out two. It was a solid outing for Peavy and he notched a win for his efforts. Josh Osich relieved Peavy and pitched a partial inning, facing four batters. He allowed one run on two hits. He struck out one.
Four home runs in one day. At AT&T Park. And one was an inside the parker. Unbelievable. The final score was: Giants 3, Rockies 2
Sunday is the rubber game of the series and the last game of the season. Am I sad? Incredibly so. What am I going to do? Ask me tomorrow. I’m going to enjoy the last game of the season from Jeremy Affeldt‘s retirement ceremony until the last out is recorded.
I still have one more day.
I’m gonna miss those guys.