It's a new month and we are only one month away from opening day and with that in mind I share with you my Orlando Hudson signed 2009 All-Star baseball in celebration of Opening Day April 13th of that year and his accomplishment on that day.
2009 was the second year that I attended an Opening Day at Dodger Stadium and it left one hell of a memory. It was the first game at home for the team and we were taking on the hated Giants. We had Chad Billingsley on the mound and Manny Ramirez back on team after a long contract negotiation and the stadium was rocking and ready to explode. This was back in the day when Matt Kemp batted 7th on the team and was referred to as the 2nd cleanup hitter on the team. Ugh. Chad put up a strong 7 innings with 11 strikeouts but the real story was Orlando Hudson. Orlando signed as a free agent in the off season and he left after the year as riff started with Joe Torre the manager ( his last at bat was a pinch hit home run in the playoffs with the team about to lose and you can tell he hit it with some extra something to "prove" a point and then he was gone ). In his first appearance at Dodger Stadium in the home whites he accomplished something no one has ever done, hit for the cycle at Dodger Stadium. I have many things on my in person bucket list, no hitter, perfect game, game seven of the World Series, etc but I forgot about the cycle. The thing about this one is that the hardest part of the cycle is the triple and he hit that last. The Dodgers were already beating the Giants handily at that point but everyone was abuzz hoping to see history and Orlando did not disappoint. It was a great day at the stadium and I got to be there when history happened.
Obviously even without the cycle I wanted an autograph from him as he was a Dodger and thought it would be cool if I could get him to inscribe the ball with his accomplishment. What was irritating and funny at the same time was trying to get this done. I saw that he was doing a signing at Upper Deck in Orange County and decided to drive down and get the ball signed but once I arrived I was informed he called and stated he wasn't able to come. A wasted 3 gallons of gas and time. I was informed though that they would reschedule and it was set at a location in the San Gabriel Valley ( forgot the name ) for a month later and I headed out there. He called again and stated he couldn't come. Are you kidding me? Again the promoter stated it would be rescheduled but it was now late August and the writing was on the wall that he probably wouldn't be on the team in 2010 and I still didn't have the ball signed. His appearance was rescheduled to now be at South Bay Cards in Lomita, which is only 20 minutes away on city streets. By this time my wife had nicknamed him No-Show Hudson. Funny name, irritating situation. Arrived at the shop and he was still on tap to show up and considering all the missed opportunities from the previous scheduled appearances the promoter gave the people that kept missing Orlando a 2 for 1. I had originally paid $40 with inscription for one but now I got two. Orlando finally showed up and was very nice and talkative to the fans. I got two balls signed both with my desired inscription. I sold one eBay for $40 so I basically got my signature and inscription for free. Free is always a good thing. I think it came out great. Even though he was only on the team for one year he left with me with a history making memory that can never happened again because he was the first. Thanks O-Dawg for the memory and autograph.