Last fall, former Washington Senator Sid Hudson passed away. He lived a long and healthy life – passed 90 years – that was predominantly spent in baseball. He pitched for the Senators in the 1940s and on into the 1950s before getting dealt to the Red Sox in 1952. After his playing days, he was a highly respected pitching coach (any pitching coach who worked beside Ted Williams had to be), coaching the Senators and Texas Rangers.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Hudson two years ago, conducting interviews for a book idea. He was a cordial man, eager to answer any question I presented to him. My questions centered around his experiences during The Second World War. Mr. Hudson served with the United States Army Air Force in Waco, Texas and played service ball under Birdie Tebbetts – a Major League catcher but superior Army pitch man. Mr. Hudson joined Birdie, as well as Major Leaguers Hoot Evers and Bruce Campbell, at the Waco Army Airfield. They had a tremendous team – won an astounding percentage of their games – but the team was dismantled when Mr. Hudson was shipped overseas.
In the Army Air Force, Sid Hudson was sent to the Pacific Theater of operations – stationed on Saipan. When the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Mr. Hudson told me that the pilots who dropped the bomb flew by his position and “tipped their wings to us.”
A two-time American League All-Star, Sid Hudson had arm trouble when he was released from military duty but he adopted a sidearm pitching motion that saved his career.
Speaking with Mr. Hudson via telephone two years ago, he happily relayed his favorite baseball experience. In 1947, Mr. Hudson shutout the New Yankees on Babe Ruth Day, scoring the winning run in a 1-0 contest.
When Sid Hudson passed away, I heard nothing about his death via the media outlets. He didn’t pitch for a championship club. He never once saw World Series action. But he’s playing the big game – on the grandest of all stages – flinging his wicked side-arm breaking ball passed the sluggers of a bygone era. So long, Mr. Hudson. You will be missed.