Tim Hudson is one of the most under appreciated figures in recent Atlanta Braves history. Though the recent trade rumor has been shot down by both Hudson and Frank Wren, it is nonetheless a bit shocking to consider that he could be tossed off to another team without a second thought. Hudson has given the Braves 8.5 years of loyal service at the front of their rotation, with little national attention in return. He hasn’t put up the eye-popping numbers that the big three did in the 1990’s, but he has been a consistent force for the Braves on the mound, as well as the pinnacle of class and character in and around the Atlanta community.
Given his career 6.1 K/9 rate, Hudson doesn’t strike out very many hitters. Watching his sinker bowl into the weak part of a bat is not as entertaining as watching the artistry of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, or the dominance of John Smoltz. He pitches to contact, which caters to a deadball mentality: A style of play that fans fled from almost a hundred years ago. The repetition of inducing groundballs, while normally good for the team, can become dull for the casual observer. He has the highest groundball ratio among all active pitchers since joining the Braves; given that, he rarely makes the highlight reel on ESPN.
Hudson is also No. 7 in the major leagues for wins since joining the Braves in 2005, despite collecting only 29 combined starts between 2008 and 2009 due to undergoing Tommy John surgery. The six pitchers in front of him on the list all have at least ten more starts than Hudson.
Off the field, Hudson’s devotion to helping children is second to none. He and his wife Kim started the Hudson Family Foundation in 2009. The Foundation focuses on helping children with physical, emotional, or financial needs. Moreover, Tim and Kim are always at the forefront for all Braves’ team charity events.
After showing such devotion to the Braves and the Atlanta community, slogging through Tommy John and back surgeries to maintain his place at the top of the Braves’ rotation, and constant leadership in the Braves clubhouse, Hudson deserves a bit more respect. He has been a true bulldog and class-act since coming to Atlanta. Regardless of the focus of the national media (which rarely goes out of its way to praise teams or players in the Atlanta market), he hasn’t even gotten enough respect from his own fan base. Hudson might miss out on the Mt. Rushmore of Braves pitching legends, but it shouldn’t be by much.