Seventeen years is a long time. A lot can happen in that time. It's enough time for a kid to be born then graduate high school. Most marriages don't even last seventeen years. It's longer than the average life expectancy of a domestic house cat. Seventeen years was also how long Tim Hudson pitched in the majors.
Two years after he was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 1997, Hudson took the mound for the first time in the majors. He pitched five innings, gave up seven hits, three runs, one homer, and four walks before he was relieved by Tim Worrell in an eventual 5-3 loss to the Padres on June 8, 1999. Luckily, Huddy got a little better from there. Oh, and he also struck out 11 batters in that debut game.
Over 17 seasons, Hudson posted a career 3.49 ERA and a 222-133 overall record while playing for just three teams; the A's, the Braves, and the Giants. Hudson was a strong, consistent pitcher through his whole career -- it wasn't until 2014 (when he was 39) that he finally posted a record with more losses than wins -- though two of his four All-Star appearances ('00 and '04) came during his time in Oakland.
Hudson was born in 1975 in Columbus, Georgia, an hour and a half out of Atlanta, where he would later pitch nine seasons for the Braves. He spent two years at a local community college where he led the team in multiple pitching and batting categories before he took his arm to Auburn and continued the trend. In 1997, he hit .395 with 18 homers, while pitching to a 2.97 ERA over a 15-2 record for the Tigers. He was the first player to be named First Tean All-SEC at two positions in the same year. To this day, many of his records still stand.
The A's had their eyes on Hudson for several years, first drafting him in 1994, then finally penning his contract in 1997 after a second attempt. It worked out pretty well.
A year after Hudson's first appearance, the A's threw two new names into the pitching mix: Mulder and Zito. Little did anyone know at the time that those three names would soon become one of the most feared pitching forces in baseball at the time, the A's "Big Three".
In 2015, both Zito and Hudson announced their respective retirements, a few years after Mulder cleaned out his locker for the last time. It was the end of an era, but just like it started, it wasn't about to go out without notice. For Hudson's final game, the Giants and the A's arranged their schedules so the two pitching greats could face each other one last time. Mulder was in attendance.
Tim and his wife Kim have been together since college and have been married for Hudson's entire MLB career. In addition to their three children, the Hudsons have brought two new additions to the family, Douglas and Tilla the goats.
Hudson still loves Auburn culture. Everything about it, the football, the community and definitely the barbecue. To this day, he still lives in Auburn.
He's resilient. In 2008, Hudson underwent Tommy John surgery and lost over a year and a half, plus recovery time. In 2013, he suffered a severe ankle injury that cost him the rest of the season. Both times he rebounded with an All-Star Game appearance.
Hudson has always had an easy-going, fun-loving goofball kind of personality. The kind of personality that almost makes you forget he's about to devastate you with a killer sinker. According to him, sometimes he's not serious enough, but he believes that having fun is what keeps everything together. Work hard, give it your all, but have a good time while doing it.
It's been a long time, but I want to hear your favorite Hudson (or Big Three) memories! In closing, I give you a sketch of Huddy and Aubie the Auburn Tiger (because why not).