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Top 55 All-Time Greatest Blue Jays: #47 Orlando Hudson

The O-Dog at work.
The O-Dog at work.

Orlando Thill Hudson | 2B | 2002 - 2005

Notable accomplishment: Gold Glove 2005

Orlando Hudson was born December 12, 1977 in Darlington, South Carolina. He played baseball, basketball and football (quarterback and punter) in high school. Orlando was drafted in the 33rd round of the 1996 draft, by the Jays, but didn't sign. We drafted him again in the 43rd round of the 1997 draft out of Spartanburg Methodist College and this time he signed. The Mets picked David DeJesus with the next pick, the only 2 from that round of that draft to make the majors. It is pretty amazing that 2 players were picked consecutively in the 43rd round that ended up playing over 1000 game in the majors.

Orlando had a fairly slow but steady climb through the Jays minor league system, players picked that late in the draft really have to prove themselves at each level, before getting to move to the next. In late July of 2002 Orlando was called up to the majors. Homer Bush started the season at second, but he didn't hit much and was released May 10. After that Dave Berg played the position, but he was more a utility player. Playing second everyday was a bit of a stretch of his abilities. Hudson was hitting .305 at Triple-A Syracuse, so he was the logical choice get a shot at the job. Hudson did pretty good, hitting .276/.319/.443 with 4 home runs and 23 RBI in 54 games.

Hudson started the 2003 season as our second baseman. He didn't have a great year, hitting .268/.328/.395 with 9 home runs and 57 RBI. He mostly hit at the back of the order. His defense was a work in progress, he wasn't great with the glove right away. Fangraphs credited him with a 0.7 UZR/150.

In 2004 Orlando started putting everything together, hitting .270/.341/.438 with 12 home runs, 58 RBI and 73 runs in 135 games. His defense improved to, Fangraphs had him at a 16.5 UZR/105. It was his best year with the Jays, Fangraphs had him at a 3.9 WAR. He missed 20 games with a hamstring injury.

He had another good season in 2005, hitting .271/.315/.412 with 10 home runs and 63 RBI. He got his first Gold Glove that year.

After the season he was traded with Miguel Batista to the Diamondbacks for Troy Glaus and Sergio Santo. He played there for 3 seasons then signed with the Dodgers as a free agent before the 2009 season. The Dodgers made the playoffs but put Ronnie Belliard at second for the playoffs. They lost in the NLCS to the Phillies. In the off-season he signed, as a free agent, with the Twins, so Orlando got to the playoffs again, this time playing second, but they lost out to the Yankees in the ALDS. Last year he played with the Padres.

Since leaving the Blue Jays he has played on 2 All-Star teams and has won 3 more Gold Gloves. He's always been an ok hitter but most of his value comes from his defense. Brian Butterfield gets and deserves a lot of credit for his defensive ability, he spent a lot of time working with Orlando. Orlando has great range and makes highlight reel plays almost daily. He's as good of a defensive player as we have ever had at second, depending on your view of Roberto Alomar's glove.

Orlando is married and has a son and a daughter. He started a charity called C.A.T.C.H. that raises money that "enables children with autism to enjoy a normal active life through the funding of outlets for proper therapy, education, and extracurricular activities". He also made some news in 2010 by suggesting that there was racism against blacks in MLB, saying that Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield couldn't get jobs because of it.

Orlando Hudson's place among Blue Jay batting leaders:

Batting Average (>1500 PA): 19th, 270

OBP (>1500 PA): 26th, .328

Slugging average (> 1500 PA): 27th, 418.

Games Played: 41st, 462

Runs Score: 41st, 209

Triples: 15th, 23