Tim Hudson will win his 200th game soon, and a whole lot of scouts never imagined he'd win one.

Hudson wasn't revered enough by those who supposedly know best, the guys assigned to watch and analyze amateurs and make judgments on whether they have what it takes to reach the big leagues.

Hudson didn't, apparently. Scouts thought he lacked size. Might've been a better hitter than pitcher. Wasn't the most coveted pitcher at his own college. Was undesirable because he was a senior, not a junior.

"The reason a lot of people didn't want him was his body type. He was 6-foot and 165 pounds soaking wet, and they didn't think he'd last," John Poloni said. "I don't know, I liked everything I saw."

Poloni was the A's scout who fought hard to have Hudson selected in the sixth round of the 1997 draft. As the story goes, most scouts followed Auburn to watch 6-5 pitcher Bryan Hebson, who as the ace would throw on Fridays, when Hudson played center field.

Poloni would stick around to watch Hudson pitch on Sunday.

"He didn't have the prototypical body type you see in a pitcher," said Poloni, who pitched briefly for the 1977 Rangers, "but what he had was moxie, intensity, competitiveness, a big heart and a good work ethic. I mean, he wasn't afraid of anything."

Poloni convinced A's national cross checker Ron Hopkins to visit Auburn to see the skinny kid for himself.

"As a general rule, Sunday pitchers tend to be mediocre, and that's how a lot of hitters make their stats, cleaning up on Sunday guys," Hopkins said. "John told me this kid has the best sinker he'd ever seen. I was befuddled. I knew John's background, that he'd probably seen 5,000 pitchers, and he's saying this guy's got the best sinker he'd ever seen.