Looking back on former Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels' career

by Marc Narducci | Aug 9, 2023
Looking back on former Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels' career
Even though he hasn’t played a full season since 2019 and hasn’t thrown a pitch since 2020, former Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels officially announced his retirement last week. 

After some arm trouble and a failed comeback, he announced his retirement while signed with the San Diego Padres. Hamels, 39, was the Phillies first round draft choice in 2002 (17th overall).

He ended his career 163-122 with a 3.43 ERA and 2,560 strikeouts–averaging 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings. His career ERA+ was 123, 23 percent above league average. 

Hamels had most of his success with the Phillies, going 114-90 in 10 seasons with a 3.30 ERA and 124 ERA+. Hamels struck out 8.6 batters per nine innings. 

He will always be known for his work in leading the Phillies to the 2008 World Series championship. During the regular season he was 14-10 with a 3.09 ERA, but Hamels made his biggest impact in the postseason.

In three playoff series, he was 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA. Hamels was the National League Championship Series MVP, going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in the series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers and was the World Series MVP, going 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two games against Tampa Bay. The Phillies won all five games he pitched that postseason and opponents batted just .190.

Hamels was a four-time All-Star, three with the Phillies and one with the Texas Rangers in 2016 when he went 15-5 with a 3.32 ERA.

The only major blemish on his Phillies career was 2009 when the team again reached the World Series but lost to the New York Yankees in six games. Hamels was 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA in the regular season and was 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA in four playoff games.

Hamels appeared in the postseason eight different seasons, five with the Phillies, two with Texas and one with the Chicago Cubs. His career postseason record was 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA and 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings, 

His final game with the Phillies will always be notable since he pitched a no-hitter in a 5-0 victory over the host Chicago Cubs on July 25, 2015. 

Hamels enjoyed a very good career. He should be in the Hall of Fame discussion, but will likely fall short. He finished in the top 10 of the Cy Young voting four times, but never higher than fifth.

Even though wins aren’t highly regarded by the analytics community, Hamels is sixth on the Phillies all-time win list with 114, tied for ninth in ERA+ (124), third in strikeouts (1,844), fifth in strikeouts per nine innings (8.6) and sixth in innings pitched (1,930). 

He is no-doubt a future Phillies Wall of Fame member. 

Whether he makes the Hall of Fame or not, Hamels had a great career, one that included plenty of regular season and postseason success.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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