In need of a second baseman, the Minnesota Twins waited until early February to make their move. The transaction came in the form of Orlando Hudson, a two-time All-Star and active participant in the community.
Orlando was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule, and just before team workouts begin next week, answer some questions for an interview on his decision to join the organization, his charity and more.
A Voice From Twins Territory: Growing up in South Carolina, who was your favorite baseball team, and who were a few of your favorite players?
Orlando Hudson: The New York Mets were my favorite team. Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey, Jr. were some of my favorite players.
AVFTT: Who is one person or a few people who have helped you along the path to professional baseball?
OH: My father and my uncles Lynwood and Boyd helped me a lot growing up. They would have me in the yard playing baseball all the time. My father showed me how to play the game as he was a great baseball player himself, and still loves to play today.
AVFTT: What is the greatest part of being a professional baseball player, and what are a few of your greatest memories?
OH: The greatest part of being a professional baseball player is that God chose only a few of us to play the hardest sport there is, and that makes us special. A few of my greatest memories are winning four gold gloves, making two all-star teams, and hitting for the cycle.
AVFTT: What has the experience been like to go from a late-round draft selection to a Gold Glove defender and an All-Star second baseman?
OH: It does not matter how early or late you go in the draft, what matters is working hard to get there and stay.
AVFTT: How difficult has it been to battle through thumb and wrist injuries throughout your career? What has helped get you through those tough moments?
OH: Prayer and family support has helped me to get through the tough injuries. They were just stepping stones God put in my path to make me stronger.
AVFTT: How do you feel right now? What is a normal day like for you during the off-season?
OH: I feel great right now. A normal day for me is getting up to hunt before day break then taking the kids to school. I go to the gym daily. I enjoy spending time with my family and children every day as well.
AVFTT: You founded the C.A.T.C.H. foundation, what is your primary goal with that charity, and what have been some of the best things that you’ve been able to do with it?
OH: The primary goal of the C.A.T.C.H. Foundation is to raise awareness and funds about autism while helping families and children cope with it. I have been able to have events in my home town and the city I play in, and raise money that is donated to SARRC, which is a foundation that deals with research for autism. In my home town of Darlington, the money goes to the county Autism Program.
AVFTT: The Twins’ organization has often been well connected with the community, what are some things you hope to do in your time with the organization and in the Twin Cities?
OH: I hope to raise awareness and funds for autism of course, but I also plan to work with the RBI program through my Around the Mound Tour which helps inner city kids get more involved in baseball.
AVFTT: You talked with several teams for quite some time before choosing Minnesota. Were the Twins interested early on, and what were some of the selling points that ultimately had you choose Minnesota?
OH: Yes, I talked with several teams, but the Twins were not one of them early on. Minneapolis is a great city and having to play with the best hitter in the game, Joe Mauer, are some of the reasons why I chose Minnesota. Not to mention the great fans!
AVFTT: What are your thoughts on having the chance to hit between Denard Span and Joe Mauer, and play with the likes of Jim Thome and Justin Morneau among others?
OH: This will be one great experience with all the speed and power in the lineup.
AVFTT: Have you had the opportunity to see the team’s new stadium, Target Field?
OH: I have not seen the stadium in person, but I have seen pictures and it looks nice. I know I am going to fr
AVFTT: You’re known as the O-Dog, where did that nickname come from?
OH: O-Dog was a name that some of my boys came up with in high school after the movie ‘Menace to Society’ came out. My dad’s nickname is Dog.
AVFTT: You’re known as an outdoorsman who likes to both fish and hunt, are you excited to get outdoors in Minnesota this spring and summer?
OH: I do like the outdoors because of its beautiful nature, but I do not plan to fish or hunt in Minnesota.
AVFTT: As you continue your career, what are your goals both on and off the field?
OH:: As I continue my career I would like to expand my foundation and open an autistic school in Darlington, South Carolina and hopefully one day make the Hall of Fame. I want to also be known as one of the greatest players to ever play the game of baseball.