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Random Dodger video series: Orlando Hudson

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Hudson hits for the first Dodger cycle since 1970

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

I don’t exactly remember when I first heard that former Dodger Wes Parker hit for the cycle on May 7, 1970. The day and month were immediately memorable because May 7th is my birthday. But as the years went on, it was just one of those Dodger feats that stood out because it had lasted so long.

Parker was the only Los Angeles Dodger to hit for the cycle as the team entered the 2009 season, that meant in over 50 years in Los Angeles, there had been only one one player to accomplish that feat.

The 2009 Dodgers were already returning a pretty strong squad and they added to that strength when they signed second baseman Orlando Hudson. Hudson was coming off a season where he only played 107 games for the Diamondbacks.

The switch-hitting Hudson was not a real threat to hit a home run with only 68 in 805 games played but he got on base at a good clip (.346 OBP) and he would solidify the middle infield with shortstop Rafael Furcal.

The Dodgers opened the 2009 season on the road. They went 4-3, splitting the four-game set against the San Diego Padres and then taking two of three in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Waiting for them for their home opener were the San Francisco Giants. The Giants had gone through their fourth straight losing season, going 72-90 in 2008. Those losing seasons did give them the opportunity to draft Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey which had already began to pay dividends.

Starting for the Giants was Randy Johnson. Johnson had signed with the Giants in December 2008. Johnson would be making his 24th career start against the Dodgers. In the prior 23 starts, Johnson was 8-6 with a 2.72 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 162 innings.

Chad Billingsley started for the Dodgers. He had made 32 starts in 2008 and he had 201 strikeouts in 200⅔ innings.

The game was still scoreless after Billingsley made it through three innings. Hudson had an infield single in the first inning and then he started the scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the third.

The Giants tied the score in the top of the fourth but Andre Ethier put the Dodgers back in front for good with his own solo home run. Rafael Furcal would later make it 4-1 with a two-out two-run single.

Hudson followed with a run-scoring double and by the time the inning ended, the Dodgers had scored six runs to go to the fifth inning with a 7-1 lead.

Two innings later, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Hudson came up and if you were like me, you knew he needed a triple to hit for the cycle.

Hudson would become the second Los Angeles Dodger to hit for the cycle. It was his only cycle of his career. This would become part of Hudson’s hot first two months of 2009 season, he hit .332/.406/.469. That start helped Hudson be named to his second All-Star team.

Chad Billingsley breezed in this start, he would finish the game pitching seven innings with 11 strikeouts and no walks. Johnson ended up giving seven runs in what would be his final career start against the Dodgers.

Despite his All-Star Game appearance, Hudson would find himself on the bench in the National League playoffs. Ronnie Belliard was acquired at the end of August and he would play great for the Dodgers. Belliard hit 351/.398/.636 in 83 plate appearances.

During that same period, Hudson hit .227/.354/.364. So when the Dodgers began their series against the Cardinals, Hudson would only get in the game for defense while Belliard started at second base.

When Hudson was awarded in fourth Gold Glove in November 2009, he expressed frustration that he and manager Joe Torre never talked about why Torre wasn’t putting him the lineup. Hudson remained respectful about the decision but he just wished he could have heard from his manager about the decision.

Hudson last played in the majors in 2012, he sought out a free-agent deal for the 2013 season but he would not find a deal.

Things also did not go as well for the Dodgers then they might have thought they would when they entered the 2009 postseason.

The Dodgers would not make the playoffs for the next three seasons and it was during the 2009 playoffs when everything began to break involving Dodger ownership.

No one knew then that from the end of the 2009 season through April 2012, the Dodgers would have more important days in Court rather in major league baseball parks.