I am a lifelong fan of “America’s Pastime,” so I was delighted to learn that Orlando Hudson, a former Major League Baseball player, was born in Darlington, SC, on December 12, 1977. Having attended Darlington High where he was the quarterback on the school’s first ever football team, Hudson excelled in three different sports, but was the Player of the Year in baseball. After attending Spartanburg Methodist College, he was drafted in the 43rd round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997. His career spanned more than a decade during which time he was selected to two All-Star teams and won a total of four Golden Glove Awards. In addition to his athletic career, Hudson also founded the C.A.T.C.H. Foundation, an organization devoted to helping young people with autism. In 2015, he was also given a humanitarian award for his work with autistic children.
On a personal note, I remember watching the Los Angeles Dodgers versus Arizona Diamondbacks game in April 2009 when Hudson hit for the cycle, which is when a batter hits a single, double, triple, and a home run all in one game. This is an incredibly rare feat that, depending on what mathematical equation one chooses to use, only occurs something like once every 17,000 games! Making the feat even more impressive was the fact that Hudson got three of his four hits that day against Randy Johnson, a six-feet, ten inch fireballer who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.
My dad taught me how to play baseball when I was very young, and as such, I could hit a knuckleball and catch flyballs long before I could read, or write, or recite my multiplication tables. I haven’t played the game in decades, but one of my greatest pleasures in life is watching smooth-fielding second basemen like Orlando Hudson turn a double-play to end the inning.