The idea of Tim Hudson as a Hall of Fame caliber pitcher is an acknowledgment as to how much the game has changed over the years.
Throughout his 17 years in the majors, Tim Hudson was a solid pitcher. A key part of the Oakland A’s trio of young arms during the beginning of the Money Ball years, Hudson was arguably the ace of the rotation, a solid, dependable arm that ranked amongst the best in the game at the beginning part of the century.
That solid performance reflected in his overall numbers. A four time All Star, Hudson posted a lifetime 222-133 record, along with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.239 WHiP. Over his 3126.2 innings, he struck out 2080 batters while issuing 917 walks. He was a ground ball machine, getting the opposition to hit the ball into the dirt in 58% of their plate appearances.
In the end, Hudson had a solid career, one that would seemingly lead to his inclusion in a hypothetical Hall of Very Good. The Hall of Fame, on the other hand, would be a longshot at best. He simply does not have the numbers that the voters would traditionally want.
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But the game has changed over the years. The numbers that typically lead to induction are far more difficult to attain. Pitching has become far more specialized, while wins are considered a far less important statistic when it comes to individual performance. In Hudson’s case, wins do not tell the entire story, especially since this bullpen lost 20 leads in a four year stretch from 2002 through 2005.
Hudson’s case would be built almost entirely on the back of acknowledging those changes. He is tied for 76th all time in wins, ranks 73rd in strikeouts, and is 66th in winning percentage. Even his WAR, at 57.9, is tied for 77th.
But there is still a chance. Hudson has a better WAR then Whitey Ford and Catfish Hunter, amongst other Hall of Famers. He has more wins than Pedro Martinez and Don Drysdale. His 120 ERA+ ranks ahead of Warren Spahn and Tom Glavine. A case can be made for Hudson’s inclusion in the Hall of Fame.
Tim Hudson may have a better Hall of Fame case than one may think. It is still a longshot, but it is not necessarily impossible.