As some of your ears may have already found out, Rex Hudler, is one of the new radio play-by-play guys for the Royals. Rex had a 21 year long baseball career and I will look at some of the "highlights" today.
"I never worried about Rex," says Steinbrenner. "What he lacked in talent, he gave you in heart and desire." -August 5th, 1996 Sports Illustrated
Hudler only played baseball competitively during his senior year of high school. He was an All-American wide receiver and had a scholarship to play football for Notre Dame. Instead, the Yankees took him in the first round of the 1978 draft. It took him a while to make it to the majors and finally in 1984, he got into a few games. The main road blocks keeping him from advancing much during those 6+ seasons was that he was unable to hit, especially for power (0.265 AVG with a total of 16 HRs). He was a little more prolific on the bases by stealing 103 bags.
Joe Torre started to play Hudler, a former high school football star whose hustling play on the diamond has earned him the nicknames Hurricane, Head First, Rex-Citable and, of course, Rex the Wonder Dog. -Sept 10th, 1990 Sports Illustrated
Rex bounced around between AAA and the MLB club and was eventually traded to the Orioles in 1986 where he had only 1 PA with the major league club. Then, he signed with the Motreal Expos where he stole 17 straight bases for them before he was finally caught for the first time. After spending 2 1/2 seasons being a part time player for the Expos, he was traded to the Cardinals.
Rex Hudler, the most hard-nosed player in baseball, jokingly told St. Louis trainer Gene Gieselmann that if he didn't make the team, he would join the Green Berets. "I'd love the discipline, the honor," says Hudler. So Gieselmann bought him a green beret. "When I got it, I saluted, went to the ground and did push-ups," says Hudler. Now Hudler often dons the cap when he's at the ballpark. "But only after wins," he says. " Green Berets are winners." - August 26th, 1991 Sports Illustrated
He continued being a part time player with the Cardinals until he was released at the end of the 1992 season. During his first 9 MLB seasons, he accumulated 1020 PAs and generated only 1.8 WAR.
No more unreal than the handstand push-ups Hudler does-naked-after big victories. Or the way he used to spit at a drawing of a sneering Pete Rose "out of respect." Or the $600 bet he won in 1992 from teammates by eating a June bug that had landed on the bill of his cap. "It was an outstanding bug," Hudler says. "It had purple on its belly and wings, and it tasted like burnt bacon." - August 5th, 1996 Sports Illustrated
Hudler decided to take his game to Japan for the 1993 season. He signed with the Yakult Swallows and helped them become the Japenese League Champs. He was able to hit 14 HRs and have a 0.300 AVG during the season. The Swallows decided that they didn't want him back and bought out his contract supposedly because he was undisciplined.
A year after consuming that June bug, with the taste still fresh on his tongue, Hudler stunned his Japanese teammates by downing a worm. "I leaned my head back, and Jack dropped it in my mouth," Hudler says, grinning broadly. "Then I began to chew." The next day a Tokyo newspaper ran a picture of him under the headline CRAZY AMERICAN EATS WORM. - August 5th, 1996 Sports Illustrated
He returned to the U.S. and signed with the Angels for the 1994 season. He went on to have arguably his 3 best seasons which culminated in 1996 when he hit 0.311 with 16 HRs. In his 3 seasons with the Angels, he generated 5.0 of his career 6.7 WAR.
"Through failure," Hudler says, "you learn about yourself." ... He has failed aggressively. Exuberantly. "Most guys run on adrenaline," says Snow. "Rex runs on turbo-adrenaline." The player Whitey Herzog once called the "fastest white man in baseball" has slid, dived and crashed into the hearts of Angels fans. "Be a fountain," Hudler advises, "not a drain." - August 5th, 1996 Sports Illustrated
He went on and played 2 more season with the Phillies before he retired after the 1998 season. Throughout his career, he played on 8 MLB teams, 11 minor league teams and one in Japan. He had a 0.261 AVG with 56 HRs and 107 SBs in 1888 PAs. As whole, Rex had a very unremarkable career on the field. It is a completely different story on what he accomplished off the field.
"There's something mythic about Hud," says [Mark] Langston August 5th, 1996 Sports Illustrated