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Former Knights' Shortstop Robby Hudson Lives Dream with ChiSox.

February 10, 2011

One Step from the Show

Former Knights' Shortstop Robby Hudson Lives Dream with ChiSox.

Robby Hudson (pictured with the White Sox AAA-affiliate Charlotte Knights) knows he's this close to fulfilling his dream of playing major-league baseball.

"I'm one step away," the former Knights' standout and one-time University of Texas national champion said this past winter in describing how attainable a big-league career seems now that he's advanced to the Chicago White Sox triple-A Charlotte franchise.

"I'll probably start at triple-A again, and from then it's a matter of having a good year, maybe somebody getting injured (on the White Sox). It's a combination of things" that could lead to his promotion, he said.

Hudson's father, Bob, pitched for five seasons in the Oakland organization and made it to triple-A Tacoma before retiring in 1984.

Robby was born in Chattanooga in 1983 while his father pitched for the double-A Lookouts, but he grew up in Redlands, California.

Huddy now lives in Austin in the off-season and works for the Texas athletic department's academic support system, but that job is secondary to baseball.

"Baseball has been seeded in my life ever since I've been a young kid," he said. "I've been chasing this dream for 27 years and major-league baseball is the ultimate goal.

"Every year brings a new crop of guys to compete with, and that gives you the motivation to keep your own job. What you put into it is what you get out of it. You want a (pro baseball) career, you have to pay for it.

"You do it, no matter what it takes."

A 6-foot, 170-pound middle infielder, Hudson turns 28 years of age this August. He played for the Knights in 2003 and 2004 after his sophomore year at Riverside Community College and junior season at University of Texas, for former Knights' coach Geoff Loomis (the current head coach at Pacific Lutheran University).

Hudson fondly recalls road trips to Alaska and Canada, and the 2004 National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, where, he said, the Knights "won the whole ball of wax."

"I'd never been outside the continental United States," before playing for the Knights, he said. "Alaska was amazing, one of the funnest trips I'd ever been on to that date."

Hudson signed with the Seattle Mariners after the 2005 College World Series, which his Longhorns won by defeating Florida at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. Robby was a key contributor and Texas head coach Augie Garrido's starting second baseman.

After two years in the Mariners organization, he was traded to the White Sox in 2007 and steadily progressed through their minor-league system.

He hit .227, with seven homers and 28 RBIs, in 88 games for Charlotte in 2010, his first season in triple-A.

He'll report to training camp in Glendale, Arizona on March 6, game-ready and eager to compete for a starting job.

"The White Sox are an awesome organization, but as a minor-leaguer you go into camp and fight for your job every year," he said. "It is a dogfight. Job security is unstable, but that's what makes it fun.

"Everybody has to fight, and have a good work ethic to get that job. It's all on you because even though it's a team sport, it's individually-based."

He and former Knights' star Brent Morel (2006-07) were teammates at Charlotte last summer before Morel was called up to Chicago late in early September.

"He's an awesome player, he's supposed to be up there," Hudson said of Morel. "He's a no-doubter, and it makes me hungry to be up there because it's the next step and a better place to be.

"To see (Morel make it) makes you hungrier, and want to play better."

Hudson said his summers with the Knights were the baseball equivalent of a professional internship and helped him prepare for a vagabond life in which you play every day, often live out of a suitcase, and don't have coaches and other support staff to watch over you like in college.

"I got used to the travel, to see what it was like to be on a bus and live in a hotel, to manage my life," he said. "Learning how to maintain your health and your diet, getting used to that schedule was awesome preparation for the minors.

"The baseball comes natural. You're playing every day and doing something you love," but the lifestyle had to be learned.

Hudson said his big-league dream has no timetable, and he'll play as long as it remains viable. He spent parts of three years in double-A before getting moved up, and if he has to remain in triple-A that long before his next jump so be it.

"I'm playing a sport I love and no matter where I am I enjoy playing," he said. "Getting to the majors is the ultimate goal, because everything you've done to this point is to get yourself to the highest level of competition.

"That's where I want to be, that's where I want to play. Getting there is the goal and that's what drives me."