The Golden Boy

On December 27, 2005 the Arizona Diamondbacks sent third baseman Troy Glaus and shortstop Sergio Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays. In return they received starting pitcher Miguel Batista and second baseman Orlando Hudson. Hudson had just won the 2005 Gold Glove for his outstanding defense for the Blue Jays. The Diamondbacks hoped that this move would shore up the middle of the infield which had been rather porous the previous season. It did just that. In 2006 Orlando Hudson showed why the Diamondbacks had been so intent on getting him. He got to grounders that seemed impossible. As a result of the improved defense pitchers such as Brandon Webb recorded a lot more outs and had outstanding seasons including the Cy Young for Webb. At the conclusion of the 2006 season Orlando Hudson was awarded his second consecutive Gold Glove this one in the National League. Expectations were high that the O-Dog would deliver in 2007.

This season began like last season with Orlando Hudson doing his impression of the human vacuum cleaner. There were balls hit anywhere from behind second base to behind first base and Hudson somehow was positioned perfectly to make the play. Not only was his defense outstanding but his clubhouse leadership helped to mold his young teammates as they matured in the major leagues. Hudson’s error total increased over that of 2006 but I believe a lot of that had to do with the fact that he was getting to baseballs that he should not have been. The extreme range he was showing was in a way costing him as the scorekeepers began expecting him to do the impossible.

It looked as though Orlando Hudson’s string of Gold Gloves may be over when he suffered a thumb injury towards the end of the season. That didn’t seem to matter to those who voted on the award. Despite his 10 errors in 137 games his .985 fielding percentage coupled with the extended range that he exhibited made Orlando Hudson the National League Gold Glove winning second baseman. O-Dog remains one of two Arizona Diamondbacks to ever win this award. The other was outfielder Steve Finley who likewise exhibited outstanding range up the middle. Congratulations Orlando Hudson; the bar has been set a little higher for you in 2008. The cameramen at Fox Sports Arizona are already getting their high definition cameras ready to catch your magic when the season begins in Cincinnati on March 31.

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