Growing up in rural Salem, Ala., cable television didn't arrive until Hudson was well into high school. The four basic channels rarely showed baseball. So as a kid, Hudson wasn't so much a baseball fan as simply a kid who liked to play. He didn't collect baseball cards. He never had a poster of a ballplayer on his walls. He never emulated favorite players on the mound or at the plate. He traveled to Phenix City, a suburb of Columbus, Ga., to play Little League.
"I remember kids talking about big leaguers and I didn't know who the hell they were talking about," Hudson says. "I learned pretty quickly. But I remember once thinking, 'Who is this Don Mattingly guy?' Everybody wanted No. 23 and I had no idea why."
Even if he could have gotten Major League games on television, Hudson figures he wouldn't have watched much. He hunted and fished, and he played pickup baseball with seven or eight other kids in a pasture near his house.
"Second base was a big cow turd," he says.
Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.