Rex Hudler is many things. During the Royals telecasts, he presents himself as a walking font of baseball information, spreading his kernels of knowledge to everyone around. Having spent his playing days bouncing around the major and minor leagues, as well as having a stint in Japan, there is not much that Hudler has not seen on the baseball field.
Off the field, however, Hudler’s knowledge has its holes. For instance, we all learned early on that there are nine (now eight, given Pluto’s reclassification) planets. We also learned that the moon, Planet Earth’s naturally occurring satellite, is not a planet. Those lessons seemed to have been missed by Hudler, who regarded the moon as “a beautiful planet” the other day during the Royals telecast.
It may be that this lack of knowledge is excusable. Perhaps, much like Sherlock Holmes, Rex Hudler simply uses his mind to store information that is pertinent to his chosen profession. After all, Holmes infamously was unaware that the Earth revolved around the sun in one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales. Holmes that stated that he would attempt to forget such knowledge, as it may crowd out a useful fact. If this is the case, is it that shocking that Hud would not realize that the moon is not a planet?
Unfortunately, Holmes was a fictional character. Besides, that theory was entirely disproven when Hudler was unaware of who two Hall of Fame shortstops were. Honus Wagner had a career that lasted from 1897 through 1917, culminating with his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 1936, never mind that he is the debate for best shortstop of all time. Hudler, meanwhile, thought that Wagner may have played in the 1930’s. As far off as he may have been, at least Hudler had heard of Wagner. When it came to Arky Vaughan, another Hall of Fame shortstop, Hudler had no idea whatsoever.
These gaps in his knowledge, as well as his occasional long winded descents into the muddy depths of inanity, are part of what makes Rex Hudler who he is. During his moments of lucidity, Hudler is one of the more entertaining color commentators in the game. He seems to be the type of person that one could spend a few hours over a couple of beers discussing baseball and come away entertained and enlightened. What Hudler seems to be attempting to portray is that, despite his professional baseball career, he is just an every man who got lucky.
Hudler is not the best announcer in baseball. Hudler is also not the worst announcer in baseball either. What he does well is come across as the type of person that the common fan could relate to, someone that could be that guy next to you at the bar.
The next time Rex Hudler begins babbling incoherently about whatever topic entered his mind at that given moment, just remember that it could be worse. We could be stuck listening to the terrible twosome of Ken Harrelson and Steve Stone.