From Princess Anne to world series champion: the Daniel Hudson story


Pitcher Daniel Hudson in 2005 with PA. Photo courtesy of Jimmy Hunt.

William Toner, Staff Writer

By William Toner

The year is 2005 and junior Daniel Hudson is in the Virginia baseball state championship game, pitching for PA. The Cavaliers fell behind 8-0 but roared back for a thrilling 11-10 victory, Hudson throwing 164 pitches. (The VHSL has since put a cap on the number of pitches a pitcher can throw in one game.)

And last week Hudson ended the World Series with a wicked strikeout, giving the Washington Nationals their first championship in franchise history. Hudson’s first response was to hurl his glove toward the dugout, and start screaming.

PE teacher Jimmy Hunt, who was Hudson’s high school baseball coach, said he has “no words” for how excited he is and called the moment “precious” and something he will “remember forever.” Hunt said is “very proud” of his former pitcher, with whom he texts regularly.

While at Princess Anne, Hudson did it all, but he was not alone. Shortstop Beamer Weems and five other Cavaliers from that team became professional baseball players.

But Hudson was the man. He was First Team All-Beach District at pitcher and at first base, was the 2005 Beach District Player of the Year, and First Team All-State at pitcher and at first base. That last season is one Hunt remembers well. He went 11-2 as a pitcher with a 1.12 ERA and 84 strikeouts. He won his last six games down the stretch to the championship. As a hitter, he slugged nine home runs, batted .472, and had 41 RBIs, according to Hunt.

After graduating from Princess Anne in 2006, Hudson pitched at ODU for three years and was drafted 150th overall in the fifth round by the Chicago White Sox in 2008, making his MLB debut on Sept. 4, 2009 when he pitched two scoreless innings.

Hudson bounced around from team to team a little, but was a mainstay on the Arizona Diamondbacks on two occasions, first from 2010-2012 and then from 2014-2016. He underwent Tommy John surgery between those two stints, missing a year for rehabilitation. Hudson also won a Silver Slugger Award in 2011. After his time with Chicago and Arizona, Hudson pitched a year for the Pittsburgh Pirates and was traded in 2018 to Tampa Bay, but was released. The Dodgers took a chance on Hudson and he made the Opening Day roster in 2018, but finished the season injured and was left off the postseason rosters. In 2019, Hudson split time in Toronto and then time, closer to home, in Washington.

Despite being a journeyman, Hudson’s ERA this season was 2.47 while helping anchor the Nats’ often porous bullpen. He caused somewhat of a ripple when he took paternity leave to witness the birth of his third child, just as Washington opened the National League Championship series against St. Louis. But he returned quickly and played a vital throughout the playoffs.