Rex Hudler loved playing sports from an early age. In high school he played football, soccer, and baseball. On the advice of his mother, Rex decided to focus on two sports – football and baseball. He was a talented wide receiver and once had 21 catches in a single game. Many major universities began to show interest in the speedy Hudler including Michigan State where an All-American named Kirk Gibson showed Hudler around the football facilities. When asked where the baseball facilities were, Gibson replied, “Baseball is a sissy sport!” Little did Hudler or Gibson realize at the time they would later meet again on the fields Major League Baseball.
Hudler was offered a full ride scholarship to play football at the University of Notre Dame and would have caught passes from a guy named Joe Montana. But baseball is a spring sport and Major League scouts began to take notice of Hudler at Bullard High School in Fresno, California. One day, the New York Yankees contacted Hudler’s mom to inform her the Yankees had drafted Rex as their number draft choice in 1978. Hudler’s mom told them they wasted their pick; her son was going to college and play football. Soon there after, the Yankees arrived at the Hudler home and Rex’s mom sent him to the local pizza joint in town while she visited with the Yankee executives. Rex arrived home a little later and his mom said, “congratulations son, you’re a New York Yankee!!!”.
With his mom negotiating his first contract, Rex Hudler became a professional baseball player. In a professional career spanning 21 years, Hudler played for the Yankees, Orioles, Expos, Cardinals, Angels, Phillies, and one year in Japan. He is one of a very few players to have played for 10 years in the minor leagues and 10 years in the major leagues. In the 11 years following his playing career, Rex Hudler has become an accomplished television and radio broadcaster with the Angels. To read more about Rex’s career in baseball, you can purchase a copy of his memoir entitled, Splinters.