The Hall of Fame voters have caught a ton of flack as of late, and that’s because they don’t know how to properly vote the best players in baseball history into the Hall of Fame – which is meant to commemorate the best players in baseball history. HOWEVER, baseball fans everywhere got caught up in the top end of guys who fell off the ballot this year (as they should have), so nobody is talking about the guys who fell off because they couldn’t reach that five percent needed to stay on the ballot.
Most of these guys were one and done, but it’s impressive to even make it onto the Hall of Fame ballot, so I want to recognize those guys and remember their careers a bit so they aren’t completely forgotten. Were these six guys ever going to make it into the Hall? Probably not, since they fell off so quickly, but it’s still cool to look at their careers and see what got them onto the ballot in the first place.
This will be a short series of articles so each guy gets the due diligence he deserves. In this second article, we are looking at Tim Hudson who got 3.0% vote, 12 votes total, and fell off the ballot after two years.
Tim Hudson was an incredible pitcher that spent 17 years in the big leagues – 6 with Oakland, 9 with Atlanta, and 2 with San Francisco. Hudson was not considered anything special coming out of high school; due to his height, scouts didn’t believe he had the size to make it in the big leagues. Hudson decided to go to Chattahoochee Valley Community College (CVCC) to hopefully get a shot at being drafted.
Well, Hudson took the right path, as he was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 35th round in 1994 out CVCC. Hudson passed on this chance and transferred to Auburn University for his final two years. Hudson actually was a star two-way player, as he also played the outfield and was named All-SEC at both pitcher and outfielder. Hudson was then drafted again by the Oakland A’s in 1997, this time in the 6th round, and this time he would sign with the team.
Hudson would quickly make his way to the majors and would actually go on to finish 5th in Rookie of the Year voting in 1999 when he had a win-loss record of 11-2 with a 3.23 ERA and a 142 ERA+ in 136.1 innings. Hudson was a part of the “Moneyball Era” Big Three out in Oakland, which also included Mark Mulder and Barry Zito (these three were also criminally underrepresented in the movie Moneyball – not that it matters to this article, just felt right to mention). Hudson’s time in Oakland was spectacular. In his 6 seasons, he compiled a 92-39 record, a 3.30 ERA, a 136 ERA+, and a 3.63 FIP in 1240.2 innings. He would also be named an all-star twice in Oakland while finishing top-6 in Cy Young voting 3 times.
He was then traded to the Atlanta Braves before the start of the 2005 season. Hudson would spend the next 9 seasons in Atlanta where he would compile a 113-72 record, a 3.56 ERA, a 115 ERA+, and a 3.88 FIP in 1573.0 innings pitched. In his time in Atlanta, he did experience a little bit of turmoil, as he didn’t get off to the greatest of starts. His first season there wasn’t nearly as good as his last season in Oakland, as his ERA went from 3.52 in 2004 up to 4.86 in 2005. His 2006 was his toughest year yet, as he posted a win-loss of 13-12, the previously mentioned 4.86 ERA, a 92 ERA+, and a 4.55 FIP in 218.1 innings. The crazy thing is, these stats aren’t terrible, but with Tim Hudson, these stats were not where he wanted them to be, and fans were likely a bit worried about their number 2 pitcher. He would bounce back to the Tim Hudson that we all know and love after that season, proving that the down year was just a fluke and he still had the stuff to take over the ace spot of the team, which he did in 2007. Hudson was also having a great 2008 campaign until he went down in August because he needed Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. This surgery and its recovery would also take out a majority of Hudson’s 2009 season, as the Braves did not want to rush back their star pitcher and risk further damage.
Hudson would have one of – if not the – best years of his career in 2010. That year, he finished 4th in Cy Young voting, was named an all-star, won Comeback Player of the Year, and had a 2.83 ERA. He would then spend the next 3 years of his career in Atlanta before he hit free agency for the first time in his career at age 38 before the 2014 season.
Hudson would go on to sign to pitch back in the Bay Area, just not with Oakland this time. Instead, he would pitch for the Orange and Black in San Francisco to finish off his career. Hudson may have been 38 at this point, but he proved that he still had plenty left in the tank to be a serviceable starter, as he was named an All-Star for the final time in his career in 2014. The Giants went on to win the World Series in 2014, and Hudson was a big help in that effort, as he started Game 7 of the World Series against the Royals – though, not many people remember that due to Madison Bumgarner’s spectacular performance in that game. He also became the oldest pitcher to make his World Series debut that year at the age of 39.
His final season was nothing special stats-wise, but it did come with some very cool send-off accolades. He became the 15th pitcher to defeat all 30 teams when he defeated the Oakland A’s, the team he started it all with 16 years prior. He also got to pitch a game in Oakland near the end of the season against his former teammate and also former Giant, Barry Zito. This game was organized as a tribute to the two, as they both spent a good portion of their time pitching in the Bay Area and were beloved by both fanbases. Hudson’s final stats for two seasons as a Giant were as such: 17-22 record, a 3.91 ERA, a 92 ERA+, a 3.93 FIP in 313 innings. The final game of his career came against the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he would record the final strikeout of his career against a 21-year-old Corey Seager.
Hudson’s career numbers are as follows: a 222-133 win-loss record, a 3.49 ERA, 26 complete games with 13 shutouts, 2080 strikeouts, a 120 ERA+, and a 3.78 FIP in 3126.2 innings pitched across 482 games.
Tim Hudson had a great career and I look back on it very fondly. He was fun to watch pitch, and I was ecstatic when he finally won a ring in 2014. He is also a member of the 200-win club, which only 119 pitchers have done in the history of the game. Hudson did get a second year on the ballot here, but that still doesn’t feel like enough. He was on my personal ballot both years, and I hope he is remembered fondly among baseball fans as he is to me.
Tim Hudson, congrats on the awesome career that landed you on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Feature Image: @Braves on Twitter