Hudson helping make wishes come true
Hurler recognized for efforts with Clemente Award nomination
ATLANTA -- As Tim Hudson was making his way toward the Majors, he and his wife, Kim, envisioned becoming involved in many charitable endeavors. A little more than a month into his big league career, a young girl named Miranda, who was suffering from a brain tumor, provided them the realization that they wanted to make a difference with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Sitting in an Oakland-area Applebee's that 1999 evening, the Hudsons heard Miranda talk about her dream of seeing Disney World and discuss the financial realities that would likely limit her to instead attend a Sacramento Kings game.
"It was kind of heartbreaking to hear that come out of her," Hudson said. "I wanted to buy her and her family a trip to Disney World. But at the time, I had all of a month in the big leagues. If I was in the same situation now, I wouldn't think twice about getting her and her family the trip."
In the eight years that have since passed, Hudson has established himself as one of the game's finest pitchers and gained a bank account that allows him and Kim to fulfill their passion to help needy children. They remain connected with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and since coming to Atlanta in 2005, have established a good relationship with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
"It makes you feel good to know you've touched somebody or made their day a little better," Hudson said. "You wouldn't be able to comprehend some of things some of these kids are having to deal with."
Recognizing his many charitable endeavors for the second straight year, the Braves have nominated Hudson for this year's Roberto Clemente Award.
The award recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. It is named in honor of the former Pirates outfielder whose spirit and goodwill will always be remembered. Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972. The winner will be announced during the World Series.
"It's an honor to be nominated for any kind of award like that," said Hudson, who was also nominated for this award with the A's four times from 2001-04. "It's a combination of me and my wife. She's every bit as involved in everything as I am. She and I together have been pretty committed to a couple of different charities since I've been in the big leagues. It's something we've been passionate about for a while."
On Aug. 13, Hudson, John Smoltz, who won the 2005 Roberto Clemente Award, and Jeff Francoeur held a golf tournament to help raise funds for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Each of them makes frequent visits to hospitals to see sick children, some of whom are battling terminal illnesses.
"For that short time that you were in contact with that child and their family, it's good to know that you've touched them a little bit and made their days a little happier," said Hudson, whose charitable endeavors aren't limited solely to children.
The Hudsons have delivered turkeys to needy families around Thanksgiving, and have also served food to the homeless at Turner Field on Thanksgiving and Christmas over the course of the past two years.
Whenever Hudson returns from one of these charitable endeavors, he finds himself in a comfortable home, with three healthy children and a wife, who like himself, feels the need to give thanks for their blessings by giving back to others.
"Every day I think how lucky I am to play baseball for a living and to see three healthy kids who are awesome," Hudson said. "Plus I have a great wife. In a blink of an eye, something can happen and things could change.
"I think once you deal with the different charities and the different things a lot of people deal with, it gives you a great appreciation for what you have and the health that you have. It really makes you want to help people who aren't as fortunate as you."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.