Giants give Hudson emotional sendoff in SF
SAN FRANCISCO -- With 222 wins, four All-Star appearances and one World Series championship under his belt, Tim Hudson threw the final pitch of his 17-year career in the third inning of the Giants' 3-2 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday afternoon at AT&T Park.
After Hudson allowed two Dodgers to reach base in his last frame, Giants manager Bruce Bochy came out to the mound to pull the starter from the game. But before the skipper took the ball, he wrapped his arms around his pitcher and embraced him as the sellout home crowd roared in applause.
"It was a little emotional," Bochy said. "It's a special moment. I just wanted him to take it all in and enjoy it."
There was some uncertainty following Hudson's brief outing in Oakland as to whether his career had concluded. The 40-year-old was unable to make it past the second inning during his swan song in the East Bay when he opposed former teammate Barry Zito.
Hudson battled a hip ailment that plagued him throughout the year and seeming lost complete control of the strike zone in a contest the Giants ultimately won, 14-10.
All along though, Hudson remained adamant about making it out to the mound one last time in front of an audience at AT&T Park, and Bochy was not going to deny him of the opportunity.
"He wanted to go out there one more time," Bochy said. "He wanted to go out in front of the fans here, and he's earned that. This was a no-brainer."
Major League Baseball's active wins leader culminated a brilliant career with a 3.49 ERA and 2,080 strikeouts over 3,126 2/3 innings playing for the Athletics, Braves and Giants. Earlier this season, Hudson became the 15th pitcher in Major League history to beat all 30 professional teams with a 4-3 triumph over Oakland on July 26.
Jeremy Affeldt, who announced his retirement Thursday morning, relieved Hudson.
"To be able to pitch in the same game as one of the greatest pitchers to ever play this game," Affeldt said, "I'm thankful I was able to do it."
Hudson was greeted with his second standing ovation this week (Saturday in Oakland where his career began and Thursday in San Francisco where it comes to an end) as he walked off the field.
The Giants' bench cleared, and Hudson presented each of his teammates and coaches with a farewell hug. He made his way down the line of Giants before flinging his cap into the stands and disappearing into the dugout.
"The last couple years have been very special for me," Hudson said. "I've been able to make some relationships and friendships with these guys that are going to last forever. ... I thank God that His plan for me was to come here in San Francisco."