Once A Phillie, Always A Phillie

by Marc Narducci | Jun 28, 2024
Once A Phillie, Always A Phillie
The recent retirement ceremony by the Phillies for Cole Hamels is a good time to look back on one of the great pitching careers in team history. Hamels likely will fall short of the Baseball Hall of Fame, but it wouldn’t be crazy making an argument for his case.

In these modern times, wins for a pitcher don’t carry as much weight, but Hamels finished with a 163-122 mark (.572) with a 3.43 ERA. His career ERA+ was 123. Hamels was also a four-time All-Star and finished in the top eight of Cy Young voting four times. The left-hander had 2,560 strikeouts and averaged 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings. 

Hamels, a first-round draft choice in 2002, had his most success with the Phillies. After that he spent parts of four seasons with Texas, part of two years with the Chicago Cubs and finished by pitching just one game with the Atlanta Braves before suffering an injury. He would sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, but never pitched in a game for either team. 

His time with the Phillies was where Hamels had his greatest success, going 114-90 (.559) with a 3.30 ERA. He earned three of his four All-Star berths with the Phillies. He had 1,844 strikeouts and 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings. His ERA+ with the Phillies was 124.

It was in the postseason where Hamels really made his mark with the Phillies. He appeared in 13 playoff games for the Phils from 2007 through 2011. The Phillies went 9-4 in those games and Hamels’ record was 7-4 with a 3.09 ERA. In 81 innings, he struck out 77 and opponents hit just .218. 

Hamels will also be remembered as the driving force in the Phillies 2008 World Series championship team. 

He was named the MVP of the National League championship Series and the World Series. In five postseason starts, the Phillies won all five games. Hamels was 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA. In 35 innings, he struck out 30 and walked nine. Opponents had a .180 batting average. 

He won Game 1 of the NLDS in a 3-1 victory against Milwaukee. Hamels pitched eight scoreless innings, striking out nine. 

In the NLCS win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA, with 13 strikeouts in 14 innings. Opponents hit just .225.

Then in the World Series win over Tampa, the Phillies won both of his starts in Game 1 and the clinching Game 5. Hamels was 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA. He had eight strikeouts in 13 innings and opponents hit just .217. 

Hamels also had a good run with the Texas Rangers. 

After pitching a no-hitter in his final start with the Phillies, Hamels was traded to the Rangers along with Jake Diekman and cash for Jorge Alfaro, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, Matt Harrison, Jake Thompson and Nick Williams. 

Needless to say, Texas got the better of that deal. 

With the Rangers, Hamels was 38-21 (.644) with a 3.90 ERA and helped Texas earn two playoff berths. His best season was 2016 when Hamels went 15-5 with a 3.32 ERA. He earned his fourth All-Star appearance that season. 

In 2018 he was sent to the Chicago  at the trade deadline and Hamels helped the Cubs reach the playoffs, going 4-3 in 12 starts with a 2.36 ERA.

He was 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA before finishing that final season with Atlanta. 

It was a truly great career, both for his regular season and postseason accomplishments.

Photo: Phillies X/Twitter

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Author: Marc Narducci

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