PITTSBURGH -- Thoughts of Tim Hudson becoming a big leaguer seemed farfetched when his only opportunity to play collegiately was with his hometown community college. But 20 years later, Hudson finds himself on the verge of becoming the 110th pitcher in Major League history to record 200 wins.
"I'm just thrilled to have had the opportunity to play as long as I have," Hudson said. "When I was in college, and even when I first started playing in the big leagues, 200 wins seemed like forever away. A lot of good things have to go right for you."
Hudson's first chance to notch No. 200 will come on Friday night, when he starts against the Pirates. Having grown up in Phenix City, Ala, approximately two hours south of Atlanta, the 37-year-old right-hander takes pride in the fact that he has notched 107 of his wins with the Braves.
"I feel great to have been here as long as I have and to be able to win as many games for the Braves as I have," he said. "I grew up a fan of Atlanta. I always wanted to play for Atlanta. I never thought it would be during the prime years of my career."
Hudson has gone 107-65 with a 3.51 ERA since the A's provided him a chance to fulfill his childhood dream by trading him to the Braves before the start of the 2005 season. He has notched 51 of those victories since returning from Tommy John surgery, a procedure he underwent in September 2010. The only pitchers to record more wins during this span are Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, Gio Gonzalez and Roy Halladay.
"I feel like I go out there and give the team the best chance to win with whatever I have going that day," Hudson said. "Early on in my career, I was a certain genre of a pitcher. To stick around for 15-plus years, you have to re-invent yourself and tweak things along the way. If you don't, then you won't be around. I've been able to do that and not lose the ability to compete at a high level."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less