Braves' Tim Hudson Adds to Big Offseason With Hutch Award
Judging which player has had the best offseason can be tougher, but this winter there can't be many players who have had a better time of it than Atlanta starting pitcher Tim Hudson.
Hudson was in Seattle Wednesday to accept the 46th Hutch Award, which goes annually to a Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of former pitcher and manager Fred Hutchinson, a Seattle native who died of cancer at 45 in 1964.
It's the second major award for Hudson, who was awarded the National League's Comeback of the Year award in November.
In between, the Auburn University product moved his family into the Auburn-area home he and his wife, Kim, have built. And they watched their beloved Auburn Tigers football team go through an undefeated season en route to claiming the BCS title and the No. 1 ranking.
"It's been pretty amazing,'' Hudson said. "We were able to go to the (BCS championship) game. It doesn't get better than that. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing with Auburn.''
The same could be said for Hudson, who had reconstructive elbow surgery in 2009, but came back to go 17-9 for the Braves in pitching Atlanta into the playoffs.
But the Hutch Award, about which Hudson knew relatively little before being named this year's winner, seemed to strike a special chord with Hudson. Kim and Tim Hudson created a family foundation that specializes in helping children in distress, and the Hutch Award, which is a fundraiser for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, plays into their concerns.
"It reminds you about what's really important,'' Hudson said. "And what's important is not winning 20 games or winning the World Series or anything like that. What's important is to make a difference. And from what I've seen here, that's what they do.
"Kim and I have been involved with working with people who help children since 2000 when I was introduced to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. To see how these people stay positive in the wake of getting the most devastating kinds of news you can get, it's special.''
Kim Hudson said she and her husband "would like to come back to visit here when there are no cameras or anything.''
"We love what they're doing here,'' she said. "It's an amazing place. It sets your mind spinning, all the advances they are making here. Tim doesn't play to win awards; he plays because he loves the game. But we love to help where we can.''
Tim Hudson said he was particularly in awe to be joining the list of players who are previous recipients of the award: Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Carl Yastrzemski, Pete Rose, Al Kaline, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell and Lou Brock, among others.
"It's pretty exciting, man,'' he said. "Even my buddy Jason Giambi is on that list in 2000. I think one thing that list has in common -- all the guys on there, the ones that I know, are really great guys, and have great hearts.
"Not only that, they have a passion for the game, and for helping others. As professional athletes, major league players, we've been blessed with an opportunity to do good with the pedestal we've been blessed with -- baseball. If you're not trying to do good with what you're blessed with, it's a detriment to the game.''