When his name was called in the MLB Amateur Draft on Tuesday with the 82nd overall pick in the third round by the Chicago Cubs, Bryan Hudson let out a sigh of relief. So did a plethora of family, friends, coaches and fans in the Alton area.
After a whirlwind that has spanned roughly 18 months and the culmination of a lot of hard work, his dream is finally coming true. Contract negotiations are under way, but the talented 6-foot-8 lefty is ready to sign and enter the Cubs organization. He had previously signed a letter of intent to pitch at Mizzou.
“It was just good to know that all the work I put in on the field and off the field has finally paid off,” Hudson said.
Alton High School head coach Todd Haug admitted when he heard the name called on mlb.com it struck a chord of emotions.
“When it finally happened I was driving to camp and my phone started blowing up,” Haug said. “I couldn’t help myself; I just pulled over on the side of the road and started crying a little bit. It’s been an incredibly long and emotional process, a very draining process for all those involved on the inner circle and it was just kind of the icing on the cake.”
It was a roller coaster couple of days for the Hudson family. A private party was held for the draft hopeful at Sunset Bar and Grill on Monday. Friends, family, teammates and coaches jammed into the bar, hoping he would be selected in the first two rounds.
Simultaneously his younger brother Koby was in the hospital being prepped for an appendectomy, which successfully took place at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
After five and a half hours on Monday, the crowd shuffled out of the bar, disappointed not seeing the local phenom southpaw drafted.
On Tuesday it took just 20 minutes and seven picks to see him taken off the board. This time he was with his recovering brother and his mother and father, Nicole and Cory.
“I didn’t really care that I didn’t get drafted (Monday). I would have liked to just because it would have been a little bigger celebration, but either way it just boils down to I got drafted and now I accomplished my goal,” Hudson said. “Everyone was excited for me and they all believed in me.”
He relished Monday’s festivities because it gave him a chance to connect with loved ones he might not see for awhile once he starts his quest with the Cubs organization.
“It was really cool just to gather back with all the baseball guys and kind of one last time with a big group of family and friends,” he said. “I might be gone for awhile and they all know that, so I was just trying to make the best of that time.”
While many of those close to him were on pins and needles, intently watching every pick on Monday, the man of the hour sat poised in the corner letting the spotlight roll off his big shoulders like he has with everything else during this process.
“He showed the same poise he shows on the mound,” Haug said. “He’s a very even keel young man. He doesn’t get too high emotionally, he doesn’t get too low emotionally and in that case he’s very well-groomed for professional baseball.”
The whole while the Cubs have shown the class and professionalism in pursuing him. It’s the fit that Hudson ultimately wanted.
He and his mom traveled north to meet with the Chicago brass on June 4 and through the draft Hudson had an inkling it would be the Cubbies stepping to the plate.
“They had told me they liked me a lot and they talked to (my adviser) Jason (Cook) for a long time about me,” Hudson said. “I had a little feeling in my stomach about them, but I didn’t know anything for sure.”
Haug added, “The Chicago Cubs organization was a phenomenal organization to work with all the way through. I can’t tell you of a better organization in terms of how they handled the process, the respect that they gave the Alton Redbirds team. Knowing they needed to see Bryan, they knew we still had a job to do and were very respectful of us and by the end we’ve all made several friends in the Cubs organization. They handle their business in a very classy matter.”
Jokingly, Hudson said he’ll remain a St. Louis Cardinals fan, but he definitely owns a newfound respect for the Cubs for allowing him this opportunity and the elegant way they carried themselves through this process.
“I was born and raised a Cardinal fan, so that will probably never change,” he said with a snicker. “But being drafted by the Cubs, it’s a great organization. I’ve talked to all those guys, some of the players, the cross checkers and they are just a really good organization.”
Haug added, “At this point the people who are close to him are first and foremost Bryan Hudson fans and secondly we’re baseball fans ... If he’s a Cub, then doggone it, I’m a Cubs fan. We’re fans of him and fans of the game, and it’s just an outstanding situation.”
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