On Thursday afternoon, the illustrious career of Tim Hudson finally came to an end. Hudson threw 2.1 innings against the Dodgers before being pulled in the third inning to a standing ovation from the San Francisco crowd. Today marked the final appearance for Hudson after a seventeen-year career spent with the Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants.
Perhaps best known for his time with the Athletics as part of the ‘Big Three’ with Mark Mulder and Barry Zito, Hudson was a measure of consistency over most of his seventeen-year career. Following a strong beginning to his career with the Athletics, Hudson spent nine years with the Atlanta Braves before finishing his career with the Giants in 2014 and 2015. Not only was Hudson the active leader with 222 career wins but he also finishes his career with 51.2 WAR and was able to pick up a World Series ring with the 2014 Giants
In his final full season in 2015, Tim Hudson finished with a record of 8-8 in 21 games started and an ERA of 4.67. Hudson was plagued with injuries over the final year of his career and was unable to return to his former glory at the age of 40. The most heartwarming moment of the season for both Tim Hudson, and fans alike, was Hudson getting the chance to pitch against former teammate and close friend Barry Zito with Mark Mulder there to watch.
While Hudson never had the dominant stuff of pitchers like Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, and Roger Clemens, he was a savvy pitcher who dominated the edges of the strike zone helping him become one of the best ground ball pitchers of the modern era (he threw a heavy sinker 49.8% of his career pitches thrown). At best, Tim Hudson is a player that will be remembered as a class act both on and off the field. At worst, Tim Hudson should be a borderline Hall of Fame candidate when it comes time for him to be eligible.
As an important side note, Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt also announced his retirement on Thursday. Best known for his strong playoff performances during his time with the Giants, Affeldt has struggled to maintain that form in 2015, finishing the year with an ERA over 6.00 in 34 innings pitched. Affeldt has been in the league for fourteen years, splitting his time between the Royals, Rockies, Reds, and Giants. Affeldt finishes his career with a career ERA of just under 4.00 and a career WAR of 6.0.