OAKLAND -- Tim Hudson made an observation Friday that was right on point as far as Barry Zito was concerned.
“Some of the kids in the stands right now -- 12, 13, 14-year-old kids -- they don’t really have a clue who we are," the 40-year-old Giants righty said. "But their parents probably do."
“That's true,” Zito agreed with a chuckle.
He and Hudson bounced between light-hearted humor and serious reflection during Friday’s press conference, less than 24 hours from facing each other in a Bay Bridge Series pitching matchup for the ages.
Hudson has announced his intentions to retire after the season. The 37-year-old Zito is leaning strongly toward retirement.
Mark Mulder, the final third of the A’s famed “Big Three” trio, will be in attendance Saturday and take part in a ceremony honoring all three pitchers before Sunday’s series finale. The nostalgia hits home with both Hudson and Zito, who combined for a 194-102 record during their time pitching in green and gold.
Toss in Mulder’s five years with the A’s, and the combined win-loss mark was 275-144, with Zito winning a Cy Young award in 2002 and Hudson and Mulder each notching a runner-up finish. They helped lead the A’s to four consecutive postseason appearances from 2000-03.
“You can’t really talk about Oakland pitching without lumping the three of us together in the same sentence,” Hudson said. “I take a lot of pride in that.”
Hudson and Zito are unique in that both are so prominently intertwined in the recent history of both Bay Area teams. They each achieved their greatest individual success with the A’s, but their best team success wearing black and orange. Zito won Game 1 of the 2012 World Series for the Giants against Detroit. Hudson was an All-Star last year and made two starts in the World Series as the Giants beat Kansas City for their third title in five years.
Both identified winning the World Series as the high points of their respective careers. Zito also noted the roller coaster his career took him on, blossoming into a Cy Young winner with the A’s and then undergoing intense scrutiny that came with his struggles after signing a $126 million contract with the Giants.
“I kind of view it as both sides of a career,” Zito said. “One with me being kind of a kid, and another one where you gotta take your lumps like a man and keep your chin up, you know what I mean? Don’t run out on the media after a poor game. I don’t think I ever did that in San Fran, but I tell you what, I really wanted to.”
Hudson joked that he’s trying to get the designated hitter waved for Saturday so both he and Zito can bat against one another.
The battle on the mound, in front of a sold-out Coliseum crowd, will be enough to provide a storybook capper to both of their careers.
[STIGLICH: Melvin plans for Vogt to catch Zito on Saturday]
“I think it’s kinda funny we both started (in the majors) within a year of each other, and we’re both at the tail end here and it’s happening at the same time, against each other,” Zito said. “All those things, it’s great how they line up.”