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Verdugo Views: Art ‘Lefty’ Hudson’s high school baseball career hit it out of the park

Verdugo Views: Art ‘Lefty’ Hudson’s high school baseball career hit it out of the park
The 1928 Dynamiters. That's Art "Lefty" Hudson on the right in the front row. He hoped to play professional ball like another Glendale High student, Babe Herman. (Courtesy of Patrick Lancaster, Glendale High)

Ninety years ago, Glendale High's yearbook noted that the school's baseball team, the Dynamiters, had enjoyed one of its most successful seasons in many years. One of the star players was Art "Lefty" Hudson, who hoped to play pro ball when he graduated.

There had been some changes at Glendale High in the years leading up to 1928. The school had moved to a new campus at Broadway and Verdugo Road and a new baseball coach, George Sperry, had joined the team.

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In those days, yearbooks often included extensive coverage of the sports teams. Thanks to Patrick Lancaster, Glendale High's journalism instructor, who sent me digital copies of the pertinent pages of the 1928 Stylus, I learned just what kind of year the Dynamiters had.

The Stylus reported that, although the players had won only three out of their seven league games, team members had won a majority of their 25-plus practice games, thus it was a "successful season."

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Sperry started spring training with nine returning lettermen, captained by Alberto Zuniga.

The veterans included Hudson, who played first base and was among a "bunch of heavy-hitting swatsmiths who were at the same time efficient ball chasers," according to the yearbook.

Art Hudson's son, who was named for his father but is known as "Skip," told me in a series of recent emails that his father was 9 years old when the family moved here from Topeka, Kan. That was in 1919. He enrolled in local schools and went on to Glendale High in 1926.

"He was an excellent hitter," Skip Hudson said.

Here's more from the Stylus: In pre-season practice games, Sperry's nine played Roosevelt, Jefferson, Fairfax, Monrovia, Belmont, Huntington Park, Harding, San Fernando Ventura, Harvard Military, Occidental Freshmen and Owensmouth, piling up a formidable pre-season record.

Harding later became University High, according to Wikipedia. San Fernando Ventura High does not show up in a Google search.

The team's first league game was against the "potent" South Pasadena Tigers. Batting honors were divided between "Lefty" Hudson and another player. Hudson garnered four safeties in as many trips to the plate.

They won that game, but lost the next one to the Cavemen from San Diego.

The team's third league game against Santa Ana's Saints proved easy for the Dynamiters, according to the Stylus. Along with another player, "Hudson grabbed batting honors," plus knocked "out a triple and three singles for a perfect day at the plate."

The team lost the next two season games to the Alhambra Moors and to the Whittier Poets, but ran rough shod over the Pasadena Bulldogs in its final league game.

According to Skip Hudson, his father had a batting average of nearly 600 when he graduated in 1928 and wanted to be a professional baseball player, just like another Glendale High student, Babe Herman.

He "was very much in awe of Babe Herman in those days," Skip Hudson said.

Herman attended Glendale High from 1917 to 1921, then went on to play professionally, Hudson added.

"Lefty" Hudson dreamed of trying out for the Hollywood Stars, but his father said "no" and told him he "would go to dental school at USC and paid his tuition in advance," Skip Hudson wrote. "Long story short, Dad graduated in 1934 with honors."

He began a general dentistry practice on North Central Avenue and later specialized in orthodontics.

Skip Hudson followed in his father's footsteps, doing lab work in the dental office during high school. After graduating from USC Dental School, he joined his father and later took over the practice.

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Art Hudson often referred his patients to an oral surgeon named Stan Phillips. The two became good friends and sometimes went sailing together. Over the years, the men and their wives traveled together on vacations.

In 2005, Phillips and his wife, Jane, welcomed me into their hillside ranch home in the Rossmoyne area, where they had lived since 1954. Phillips told me stories about growing up in Glendale.

Born in 1914, he remembered visiting his mother at Cottage Hospital on Windsor Road when she was ill, the huge eucalyptus trees on Lomita Street and driving along San Fernando Road in the early 1920s when it was a two-lane dirt road that dipped through the creeks (no bridges in those days, he told me).

His memories filled two Verdugo Views columns — Jan. 22 and Feb. 5, 2005.

KATHERINE YAMADA can be reached at katherineyamada@gmail.com. or by mail at Verdugo Views, c/o Glendale News-Press, 202 W. First St., Second Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Please include your name, address and phone number.

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