In this installment of this special series where we pick an all-time roster of players who came from Virginia, we turn to second base.
The clear choice to man 2B on Team Virginia is…..Tony Womack.
Womack, a Danville native, played in the major leagues from 1993-2006. He played his career with several different teams, but had his greatest success with Pittsburgh and Arizona.
Womack played in the steel city from 1993-1998, and became a regular second baseman in 1997. That was the year he led the league in Stolen Bases and made his only all-star team. 1997 would also be the first of 3 consecutive years he would lead the NL in stolen bases-a feat no one has accomplished since.
Womack was traded to the Diamondbacks in 1999 and set a franchise single-season SB record with 72, also leading the NL. He would spend five seasons playing in the desert, and amass 182 Stolen Bases while playing there. That remains a franchise record.
Womack was a key part of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks run to the title. His walk-off single won the National League Division Series against the Cardinals. The Dimaondbacks got all the way to the World Series and had to take on the 3-time defending champion New York Yankees. In the clinching game, Womack’s game-tying hit against the venerable Mariano Rivera would set the stage for Luis Gonzales’s bloop single to make the Diamondbacks the first team to win a title in only their 4th year of existence.
Womack left the Diamondbacks after the 2003 season and would go on to play for 5 more franchises over the next three years before retiring. He finished his career with a .273 batting average and 363 career stolen bases.
For years, even decades, the University of Virginia has been known as a hotbed of talent for the sport of football. (Every NFL draft since the early 1980s has seen at least one NFL player get drafted out of UVA.) But make way, football, Major League Baseball is gaining steam.
As of Tuesday, September 15th, when the Orioles recalled P Tyler Wilson (Midlothian) from Triple-A Norfolk, a record 10 Wahoos appear on major league rosters. Here is the rundown of the UVA-to-MLB pipeline:
San Francisco Giants reliever Javier Lopez (Fairfax) played at Virginia from 1996-1998. He currently leads all active major league players with 4 World Series rings. (2007 with the Red Sox and the three SF titles of the 2010s.)
St Louis Cardinals IF Mark Reynolds (Va Beach) played at Virginia from 2001-2004. His 236 career homers are 23rd among active major league players.
Washington Nationals IF Ryan Zimmerman (Va Beach) played at Virginia from 2003-2005. In the 2005 draft, he was selected in the first round by Washington, the very first draft choice in the history of the Washington Nationals, who had just moved to DC from Montreal. Zimmerman is the last player left from the team’s inaugural season in Washington, and has clearly become the face of the franchise. His 10 career Walk-off homers are 2 short of the NL record). On March 30th, 2008, he christened the new Nationals Park with a walk-off HR to beat the Braves. In the summer of 2015, he cracked the 200 HR milestone. In his time as a National, his resume also includes an all-star game, a Gold Glove, and 2 Silver Sluggers.
Oakland Athletics P Sean Dolittle played at Virginia from 2005-2007. In 2014 he was 10th in the AL with 22 saves, and made his first all-star game.
Also currently on Major League rosters: Cleveland Indians P Kyle Crockett (Poquoson), Arizona Diamondbacks IF Phil Gosselin, Tampa Bay Rays OF Brandon Guyer (Herndon), Seattle Mariners C John Hicks (Richmond), San Francisco Giants OF Jarrett Parker (Stafford), and Wilson.
Major League Baseball, Wahoo strong!!!!!!!!
Atlanta is in a rebuilding mode. Ditto for Arizona, who was also looking to shed some salary. So, the two teams became trading partners Saturday, as the Diamondbacks and Braves swung a trade that sent IF Phil Gosselin (UVA) west to the Dbacks for 2 pitchers.
Gosselin, on the DL recovering from a broken thumb, is batting .325 in 20 games this year.
When the Diamondbacks announced that RH Daniel Hudson (Virginia Beach) would start against the Padres Sunday, it was hard to predict how it would turn out. Hudson had not started in three years.
Well, Hudson did not disappoint.
He pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two walks and two hits, and getting half of his outs via strikeout.
This might be enough to get him another start, we will see.
The Arizona Diamondbacks announced Sunday that RHP Daniel Hudson (Virginia Beach/ODU) will be the starting pitcher in their afternoon tilt with the Padres in San Diego.
Yes, that Daniel Hudson.
Hudson will get his first starting role in three years.
Not long ago, Hudson’s future in baseball was in serious jeopardy. In 2012, Hudson underwent Tommy John surgery, costing him the remainder of that season. Roughly a year later, while rehabbing at AA, he again tore the same ligament that he had the TJ surgery on, meaning he was through for the season. Arizona did release him after the season, but re-signed him to a minor league contract, and moved him to the bullpen. He made a comeback late in the 2014 season and pitched 3 games in relief, to the tune of 2 2/3 innings.
Now, with Arizona’s rotation in flux due to recent rainouts, Hudson will be on the mound starting a game. It will be interesting to see how long manager Chip Hale lets him pitch.
Hudson has a career record of 28-19 with a 3.82 ERA in 74 games. He won the NL Silver Slugger award for pitchers in 2011.
When Daniel Hudson (Virginia Beach) returned to the Arizona Diamondbacks this summer, that in and of itself was a major victory.
Hudson had not pitched in the major leagues in more than 2 seasons, this after undergoing not one, but TWO Tommy John Surgeries. Hudson, now 27, appeared to have been washed up. But he never gave up. He pushed himself to get back to the bigs, and on September 3, he did just that, pitching the 8th inning of a 6-1 Arizona win. He would pitch a total of three games in relief for Arizona, going 0-1, before the Diamondbacks shut him down for the season.
He now figures into Arizona’s plans for 2015, as the Diamondbacks have picked up his option, guaranteeing him $800K, with another $300K in incentives based on days on the active roster.
In his career with the White Sox and Diamondbacks, the former ODU star is 28-18 with a career 3.75 ERA. He won 16 games and the Silver Slugger award in 2011 with Arizona.
A key component of Arizona beating San Diego was the return to the big leagues of P Daniel Hudson (Virginia Beach).
Hudson was pitching in the major leagues for the first time in two years and after two Tommy John surgeries. But Hudson showed he was back to his old self, pitching a 1-2-3 8th inning, with 13 pitches, 9 of them strikes.
Today is September 1, a big day for all baseball teams and fans. Today is the day that rosters expand to 40. Some teams choose to do just that, other teams call up some, but not fill the 40-man to the max. Some teams call in reinforcements for the playoff push, other teams are out of the playoff picture and are starting to plan for next season.
In Arizona, the Diamondbacks are the latter. They have had a rough 2014 and are out of the postseason picture. But among their players being added to the roster for the final month: RHP Daniel Hudson (Virginia Beach). Yes, the same Daniel Hudson who was a budding star just a few years ago before his career got derailed by an injury that would require not one, but two Tommy John surgeries.
Hudson was a gem of a hurler from 2009-2012, posting a 3.68 ERA and 3004 strikeouts in 381 innings. But in early 2012, he got hurt, and his arm troubles snowballed from there. He has not pitched in the big leagues since, but has worked his way back. When he is added to the big league roster this week, it will be out of the bullpen, and FOX Sports Arizona is reporting that he will be on a 25-30 pitch count limit.
In Baltimore, Charm City, the Orioles enter the final month of the season having won four straight, and hold a comfortable nine game lead in the AL East division over the Yankees. But they will be calling in extra reinforcements for the home stretch, and one of those is LHP Joe Saunders (Springfield).
Saunders began the season with the Texas Rangers, but was released after going 0-5 with a 6.13 ERA. He signed a minor league deal with the Royals, but did not do much better there, and was cut. He then signed a minor league deal to return to Baltimore, where he finished the 2012 season. He reported to AAA Norfolk and flourished, posting a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings of relief work over 10 games. Not clear yet if he will start, relieve, or both.
We continue the listing of the 10 greatest MLB players to come out of Virginia. Next up is #6.
#10 1B George McQuinn (Arlington)
#9 SS Gene Alley (Richmond)
#8 OF Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake)
#7 OF Jim Lemon (Covington)
#6 OF Tony Womack (Danville)
Tony Womack played in the major leagues from 1993-2006 with 7 different teams, but he had his greatest success with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks. He started out with the Pirates from 1993-1998, a time in which he led the NL in Stolen Bases in 97 (60) and 98 (58), and in 1997 made his only all-str appearance.
He was traded to the Diamondbacks in 1999, and again led the league in Stolen Bases with 72, which to this day is also a Diamondbacks single-season franchise record. But he attained true hero status in the desert in 2001, as his clutch hitting helped the Diamondbacks upset the Yankees to win the World Series. In the division series, Womack’s walk off single won the deciding game against the St Louis Cardinals.
Arizona would go on to the World Series against the heavily favored Yankees, who became a rallying point for the city and the whole country, as this series was played just weeks after the 9/11 attacks. A back and forth series went to a 7th and deciding game, with the Yankees bringing in Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 9th to try and bring home the title. This would not happen, as Womack ripped a game tying double to set the stage for Luis Gonzalez and his bloop single to bring the Diamondbacks the title. Arizona also became the fastest expansion team to win a World Series, winning it in their 4th year of existence, besting the Marlins by one year. With 182 SB, Womack is also Arizona’s all-time leader.
Womack left Arizona after 2003 and went on to play with the Yankees, Reds, Cardinals, Cubs, and Rockies over the next 3 years, before retiring from baseball. He now resides in Charlotte, NC with his family, and in 2014 was an instructor at Arizona’s fantasy camp.