So, you think you want to be a Major League Baseball umpire?
Might better think again, says Marvin Hudson, of Washington, Ga., who has the distinction of being a big league umpire.
"You have less than a one percent chance of making it to the big leagues as an umpire," Hudson told members of the Thomson Kiwanis Club during their luncheon meeting at the Thomson Depot on Jan. 4.
"You actually have a better chance of becoming a player than an umpire."
He was the special guest of Thomson Kiwanis Club secretary Frances Cowart.
Hudson, who has been a big league umpire since 1999, is a member of a four-man crew and assigned to various games throughout Major League Baseball. One of his favorite ballparks is Fenway Park in Boston.
"I'm very fortunate to be where I am at today," said Hudson, who is married and has two children and two grandchildren. "I thank God everyday."
With a burning passion and desire to give back to the game after his prep and college baseball days, Hudson decided he'd do the next best thing -- become an umpire.
"I took a different route after my baseball playing days were over," said Hudson, noting he has never regretted his decision.
Umpiring is a profession where one has to be up for the challenge every day -- no matter what.
"You have to give your best every day," said Hudson, who is one of 68 Major League Baseball umpires. "That's exactly what I do every time I go out onto a field."
Laughing, Hudson said he's one of only a few umpires who have not had to throw Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox out of a game.
"For some reason, he seems to like me," said Hudson, who rose to the big leagues after working in the minor leagues for several years.
The money isn't bad for umpires in the big leagues -- especially considering they only work about half the year.
A rookie umpire starts out at about $95,000 a season, while those with far more experience can make up to as much as $360,000 a season, said Hudson.
Even so, many of them have other part-time jobs.
Umpires receive per diem packages each day, which allow them to rent a car, eat meals and bed down at a hotel. He said that he and the other three members of the umpire crew are good friends.
"We travel all around the country to different ballparks, so we get a chance to know each other pretty good," said Hudson.