ATLANTA -- Tim Hudson was a Braves fan long before he compiled the fifth-most wins and starts in Atlanta history. His childhood memories include the many days and nights he spent listening to Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren, the two legendary broadcasters who significantly influenced the path Joe Simpson has traveled over the past quarter century.
Hudson and Simpson's contributions will be celebrated later this month, when they become the latest inductees into the Braves' Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be staged on Jan. 27, during a gala at the Battery's Coca-Cola Roxy Theater. Tickets can be purchased at www.braves.com/gala.
"It's very humbling, and I'm honored, to say the least," Hudson said. "I don't know if stunned is the right word, but I was definitely shocked when they called to tell me. It wasn't something I was expecting."
Hudson will become the eighth pitcher to be enshrined in the team's Hall of Fame. The previous pitchers to be inducted were Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Phil Niekro, Warren Spahn, Johnny Sain and Kid Nichols. Sain and Hudson are the only members of this group who have not been immortalized in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
While growing up about 90 minutes southwest of Atlanta in Phenix City, Ala., Hudson spent his high school days watching the Braves begin their run of 14 consecutive division titles. He had a chance to be a part of the last of these division titles when the A's traded him to his "hometown team" before the start of the 2005 season.
Hudson went 113-72 and posted a 3.56 ERA over 244 appearances (243 starts) in nine seasons with Atlanta. He missed most of 2009 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but then he enriched manager Bobby Cox's final season as he helped the Braves reach the postseason and finished fourth in balloting for the '10 National League Cy Young Award.
Though Hudson displayed an ability to deliver in big games, he received a tough-luck no-decision in two of the most painful losses in Braves postseason history. The right-hander allowed just one run through the first seven innings of the 18-inning loss to the Astros in Game 4 of the 2005 NL Division Series. Houston forced extra innings by erasing a five-run, eighth-inning deficit.
Hudson then surrendered just one unearned run over seven innings of Game 3 of the 2010 NLDS against the Giants. The unearned run came courtesy of one of the three errors committed by Brooks Conrad, whose defensive miscues negated the thrill Eric Hinske created with a go-ahead homer in the eighth.
Maddux (.688) and Glavine (.624) are the only pitchers in Atlanta history to post a better winning percentage than Hudson (.611). They also join Smoltz and Niekro as the only pitchers to record more wins than Hudson in Atlanta history.
Hudson is one of only 21 pitchers in Major League history to win at least 200 games, post 2,000 strikeouts and have a .600 or higher career winning percentage. He made four All-Star squads in his career and ranked in the top six of Cy Young Award voting four times in his career.
Simpson will join Caray, Van Wieren, Ernie Johnson and Don Sutton as the broadcasters who have been enshrined in the Braves' Hall of Fame. He had the opportunity to work with each of them after beginning his tenure in 1992.
Since being part of the TBS broadcasts that brought the Braves to a national audience on a nightly basis through the 2006 season, Simpson has continued to serve as a familiar voice, as he has spent the past 11 seasons calling games for Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast. The 66-year-old Atlanta resident has also continued to be an annual fixture within TBS' postseason broadcasts.
The Braves Hall of Fame Induction Gala will coincide with Chop Fest Weekend, which will take place Jan. 27-28 at SunTrust Park and within the Battery. For more information about the event, visit www.braves.com/chopfest.