Dodger Legends - Orlando Hudson
Born: December 12, 1977 in Darlington, South Carolina
MLB Debut: July 24, 2002 for the Toronto Blue Jays
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Orlando Thill Hudson, nicknamed O-Dog and Headquarters, is a Major League second baseman who currently plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hudson was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 43rd round of the 1997 MLB draft. In 1998, Hudson began his career in the Rookie leagues with the Medicine Hat Blue Jays while also hitting .298. He continued to play in the minor leagues for another four years with the Hagertown Suns (1999), Dunedin Blue Jays (2000), Tennessee Smokies (2000-2001), and the Syracuse Sky Chiefs (2001-2002). In 2001, Hudson received the honor of being a Southern League All-Star and a Baseball America 1st team Minor League All-Star second baseman.
Hudson made his major league debut for the Toronto Blue Jays on July 24, 2002 against the Baltimore Orioles. He played for the Blue Jays from 2002-2005, where he would capture his first gold glove in 2005. He was then traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks later that year. After his first full season with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006, Hudson received his second gold glove award. He became just the 6th infielder in MLB history to receive this prestigious award in the National and American Leagues.
His great career would continue in 2007 when he won his third gold glove and was selected to his first All-Star Game. Unfortunately in 2008, he dislocated his wrist against the Atlanta Braves and would become a free agent at the end of the season.
On February 21, 2009, Hudson signed a one year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. On April 13, 2009, he became just the 8th Dodger to hit for the cycle, and he did it in the 2009 home opener in front of a crowd of 57,099 people. Hudson became just the second Dodger ever to hit for the cycle at Dodger Stadium.
As great of a legacy that Orlando Hudson has etched into baseball history, he will most likely be remembered for what he has done off the field, not on it. Hudson founded the C.A.T.C.H. foundation, which is a non-profit organization whose headquarters are located in Darlington, South Carolina. The foundation takes pride in its continued commitment to provide resources and new advancements for youth coping with Autism.
Hudson tries to bring awareness to the African-American community as well. The C.A.T.C.H. Foundation has served the youth who have autism with their annual Autism Walk; Strike Out! Bowling Fundraiser; Homerun Holiday Christmas Gifting Ceremony and also providing schools and organizations with financial support for youth coping with autism. Hudson will always be remembered as a Gold Glove winner and All-Star, but his legacy of a caretaker and provider will never be forgotten.