Here comes the part that is hard for me to write without getting very emotional. … Winning divisional championships, clinching playoff spots, hitting the “occasional” home run and winning my 200th game were just a few of my favorite memories in a Braves uniform. But nothing compares with the memories that I have of meeting and spending time with some remarkable children and families fighting battles much bigger than the game of baseball. During my time with the Braves, I met kids whom I’ll never forget. Some of them are healthy and happy today, and some of them are no longer with us. But the impact that they had on me will last forever.
I was devastated on the night that I suffered my ankle injury. It was painful; it was potentially career-threatening; and I was just plain mad about the whole thing. But a mere 36 hours later, things changed. I was scheduled for surgery on a Friday afternoon. I was lying in a hospital bed at Piedmont Hospital when my wife read an email to me. To our utter amazement, the Children’s Healthcare campuses at Scottish Rite and Egleston had declared the day of my surgery “Tim Hudson Day.” All the staff and patients were encouraged to wear Braves gear, and the cafeterias ditched their healthy menus for ballpark food — hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, pretzels, cracker jack and other fun things. And they had stations set up where the kids who were in-patient there could make me cards and write me letters and even sign baseballs for me. At that moment, everything changed. My injury was not what I would have chosen for myself, but in the grand scheme of things, it was just a minor setback. At that very moment, those kids who were literally fighting for their young lives were sending encouraging wishes to me. What a gift.
So, thank you to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Georgia and Alabama, and the countless other organizations that have allowed me to be a small part of what you do. While I may be wearing a different jersey next season, my family and I promise to continue to support children and families in need. It’s what we do and what we love. I may be playing baseball on the West Coast, but my home, and the home of the Hudson Family Foundation, will always be here in the South. We vow to continue to do all that we can to serve those who need us.
Thank you … everyone … for an unforgettable nine seasons as part of the Atlanta Braves organization. It will always be a significant part of who I am, both as a baseball player and as a person.