Tim Hudson Makes The Final Start of His Storied Big League Career


Going in to Thursday’s game, Tim Hudson knew it would be the final start in a long, storied Major League career. The San Francisco Giants knew it too, and so did everyone else in attendance, and emotions were running high. The emotions were let out in the third inning.

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With one out, Hudson allowed a single to Howie Kendrick, and with a short leash for the old dog, Hudson’s day was over at that point. The camera panned to the dugout, showing manager Bruce Bochy rising from his seat before ascending the dugout stairs on to the playing field. As Bochy approached the mound, the cheering began before Hudson even handed over the game ball. The ovations came not just from the crowd, but from Hudson’s teammates and opponents, and Giants and Dodgers’ players united to show their appreciation for one of the best pitchers of their generation.

Bochy spent a long moment on the mound, much longer than the “take the ball and pat ’em on the butt” that is normal throughout baseball. Bochy put his hands on Hudson’s shoulders as he said his peace before giving his pitcher a hearty pat on the back as Hudson made his way off the mound for the last time.

The crowd showered Hudson in their adoration as he made his journey back to the dugout. Hudson took a moment to doff his cap in acknowledgement to each section of the crowd, pointing at his heart once while he did so. As Hudson neared the dugout, his teammates formed a line to give Hudson hugs and handshakes. The line was led by none other than Madison Bumgarner, who has grown extremely close to Hudson in their short two years as teammates. As Hudson hugged each of his teammates, the crowd continued to cheer, and Hudson acknowledged them again when he reached the end of the line.

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“It’s something I didn’t expect, but I’m very grateful” Hudson said in his signature southern drawl to Amy Gutierrez regarding the ovation he received. He was visibly emotional as he called the Giants a “first-class organization”, and his compatriots “first-class teammates”.

Hudson is still the winningest active pitcher in baseball with 222 wins, and will be until he retires when the season ends. The four-time All-Star has made a case to be a Hall of Famer one day down the road, but that remains to be seen, and will be for years to come.

This isn’t Hollywood, and it wasn’t “For Love of the Game”, where Kevin Costner’s character, pitcher Billy Chapel, threw a perfect game in his final big league start. Things didn’t go so nicely for Hudson, as he allowed three hits and three runs in 2.1 innings, but that’s not how he’ll be remembered, or how his final day will be remembered. The love and respect he received, both from fans and fellow players, are what will definite Hudson’s final start.

The Giants will honor Hudson again, on Saturday before their game with the Colorado Rockies, while teammate and newly-announced retirement buddy Jeremy Affeldt will be honored on Sunday.

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