1952-1954

SID HUDSON   P

Although he was never a baseball great, Sid Hudsonís work in baseball spanned seven decades, stretching from the humble beginnings of Depression-era sandlot ball to the multibillion-dollar game of the present day. He overcame many obstacles along the way, while serving his country in World War II and finishing as a teacher of the game to a new generation of ballplayers.

Sid was born on January 3, 1915 in Coalfield, Tennessee. He still managed to fit sports into his work schedule, playing when he could for several local amateur teams. Eventually he came to play for the East Lake team in the Chattanooga City League. He played mostly at first base.

He attracted the attention of the Sanford team in the Class D Florida State League and was signed for the 1938 season to play first base. One day the team was far behind in a game against Palatka and Sid asked if he could go in to pitch a few innings. He struck out the last six batters of the game and was in the rotation for the rest of the season.

In 1939, he turned in a brilliant season., winning 24 games, with a 1.80 ERA, lost only 4, and completed all 27 of his starts. He continued to play part time in the infield also, batting .338. 

In 1940, he went to spring training in Orlando, Florida, with the Senators and was surprised to find himself a member of their starting rotation. In just two years, he had gone from the sandlots to the majors.

In September, he faced the Red Soxí Lefty Grove and the two battled in a 0-0 duel through 12 innings, with Sid pitching out of numerous jams, until the Senators broke through and gave him the win in the bottom of the 13th inning. The victory capped a remarkable rookie season. 

In the next two seasons, he continued to be a pitching mainstay for the Senators. Despite losing records, he was selected to the All-Star team both years.

America was soon in World War II and Sid spent the next three years in the Army Air Forces, finishing his service time with Special Services on Saipan. In his 38-month tour of duty, he pitched hundreds of innings in service games and also ran calisthenics for cadets five times daily. When he came back to the majors in 1946, his arm was fatigued and he developed a bone spur on his shoulder. Pitching with great pain, he turned in a decent season (8-11, 3.60 ERA), but as his arm worsened, his record declined along with it. His ERA rose to 5.60 in 1947 and he led the league with 17 losses in a tough-luck 1949 season.

In 1950 he seemed to return to form, winning 14 of the teamís 67 victories. In 1951 he slid backward, but in 1952, he got off to a strong start with the Senators, completing six of his seven starts with a 2.73 ERA.

Seeking pitching help, the Red Sox acquired him in a trade in June. He went on to win seven and lose nine games for the Sox. He finished his career in a variety of roles for the Red Sox over the next two seasons. Still relying on his side-arm delivery, he went 6-9 in 1953 as a starter and reliever. In 1954, now 39 years old and the third oldest player in the league, he worked mostly out of the bullpen, winning three games and saving five. He went to spring training with the Red Sox in 1955, but was released before the start of the season. This ended a career in which Sid had often pitched well for below-average teams. He had won 104 games, lost 152, and completed 123 of his 279 major-league starts.

The Red Sox kept him as a scout, a position he held for five years. In 1961, he returned to his baseball roots by accepting a job as a pitching coach for the expansion Washington Senators and remained in that organization for 25 years, following the team to Texas in 1972. He worked as a pitching coach at both the major-and minor-league levels and served under six different managers.

After leaving the Rangers organization in 1986, Sid finished his baseball life by becoming the pitching coach at Baylor University for six years.

Sid Hudson died after a stroke and contracting melanoma on October 10, 2008 in Waco, Texas. He was 93 years old.