Top 25 Phillies of All-Time: No. 19 – Cole Hamels

By: Matthew Shinkle, Sports Talk Philly writer

Although sometimes overshadowed during his time in Philadelphia by the likes of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, who were both chasing a World Series ring, Cole Hamels was the original ace of the Philadelphia Phillies teams that won five consecutive National League East pennants from 2007 to 2011, and the 2008 World Series. 

Highly regarded in high school out of San Diego, California, Hamels had a fastball clocked at 94 mph, with some other advanced pitches as well. However, many teams seemingly lost interest in him after his sophomore season, when he broke his left humerus – the long bone that runs from the shoulder to the elbow. In the 2002 Major League Baseball draft, the Phillies drafted the young pitcher that would help turn around the franchise with the 17th overall selection. 

From the start, Hamels showed glimpses of greatness. Splitting time between the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws and Class A-Advanced Clearwater Thrashers in his first year of professional baseball in 2003, Hamels went 6-3 with a 1.34 ERA while striking out 147 and allowing just 61 hits. His efforts earned him the Paul Owens award at the end of the year, for being the best pitcher in the Phillies' minor league system. 

However, the next two years were not as bright for the young pitcher. He started a combined 10 games between both years after suffering from elbow tendinitis, chronic back spasms, and a bar fight where he broke broke his pitching hand. 

Despite these set backs in the minors, it took just eight games between three minor league clubs when he came back healthy during the 2006 season to prove he was ready for the majors, including three games with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons when he struck out 36 batters whilst allowing just one run. 

After making his major league debut in 2006 with the Phillies, Hamels developed into a National League All-Star just a season later, one of three appearences he would make on the team during his run with the club.  

Hamels received the nickname "Hollywood" during his time in the minors with Ryan Howard after he saw Hamels wearing surfer shorts and flip flops one day. "Hollywood" would eventually become one of the most iconic Phillies of all-time, along with his aforementioned minor league teammate. 

Career accomplishments  

Hamels ranks third in Phillies franchise history in strikeouts (1844), fourth in games started (294) and sixth in wins (114). From 2007 to 2012, he won 10 games or more each season, and boasted a cumulative 3.30 ERA with the club.

Cole Hamels was a three time NL All-Star with the Phillies in 2007, 2011, and 2012, and was named the NLCS MVP and World Series MVP in 2008. 

Hamels was part of a combined no-hitter on Labor Day at the end of the 2014 season, pitching the first six innings on September 1st against the Atlanta Braves. After racking up 108 pitches, three relievers game in to finish the game for Hamels. In his last career start with the Phillies, Hamels threw a no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs, striking out 13 batters in the effort. 

Most memorable moments

After getting swept in the 2007 National League Division Series by the Colorado Rockies in what appeared to serve as a learning experience for the entire team, Hamels showcased postseason greatness in their 2008 playoff run a year later, that culminated with a World Series Championship. 

In game one of the 2008 NLDS, Hamels pitched eight scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out nine. The win was both the first postseason win of his career, as well as the Phillies first postseason win since the 1993 season. Against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, Hamels went 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA, and was named the NLCS MVP after winning the clinching game. 

Starting game one of the World Series, Hamels helped the Phillies win 3-2, notching his fourth and final win of the postseason. He also started the famous game five, which was delayed due to rain with the game tied at 2 after the top half of the sixth inning. When play was resumed, the Phillies would go on to win 4-3, and clinch the series. 

At just 24 years old, Cole Hamels was named World Series MVP as well. Overall, he went 4-0 in five games during the postseason with a 1.80 ERA. 

 Reasoning for ranking

Hamels scored 26 overall points on the scale, which is explained in-depth at the bottom of the post. 

Hamels finds himself tied in points with three others on the list, including Cy Williams and Curt Schilling, who were ranked No. 21 and No. 20, respectively. The only player ranked ahead of Hamels in this tie is also a member of the 2008 World Series team. 

Currently with the Texas Rangers, Cole Hamels was one of the American League's best pitchers this past season, going 15-5 and striking out 200 while helping lead the Rangers to the postseason.  

Explanation of scientific formula

The player rankings formula combines both traditional and advanced statistics/metrics and assigns a point total to each category. These statistics only reflect the player's Phillies career.

First, single season WAR is a primary factor in our rankings. According to WAR's calculations, 2+ WAR is considered a starter, 5+ WAR is All-Star caliber, and 8+ WAR is MVP level.
We totaled the number of seasons that a player performed at a 2+ WAR, 5+ WAR, and 8+ WAR level and assigned a set point value for each category, (+1), (+3), and (+5) respectively.
For example, in 1980, Mike Schmidt complied an 8.8 WAR. This was counted as a 2+ WAR season, a 5+ WAR season, and an 8+ WAR season. So, for 1980 alone, Mike Schmidt earned (9) points for WAR. 
Second, we assigned a point value for amount of years spent with the Phillies. In order to be considered for this list, a player must have been with the organization for a minimum of (5) years. 
Next, we assigned point values for being among the top 25 in particular statistical categories, such as batting average, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, home runs, and OPS for hitters, and ERA, Wins, and WPA (wins probability added) for pitchers. 
Finally, all statistical categories were totaled up using our point based system and ranked accordingly, with historical columnist Matt Albertson and managing editor Tim Kelly of Sports Talk Philly reserving the right to move players up the list, within reason. An explanation of why a player is ranked in a certain spot will be provided, as will an overall score breakdown.

Previous entries to the countdown

25. Garry Maddox

24. Roy Thomas

23. Gavvy Cravath

22. Chris Short

21. Cy Williams

20. Curt Schilling

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