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Hamels pitching for the Phillies in 2010
|Philadelphia Phillies – No. 35|
December 27, 1983 |
San Diego, California
|Bats: Left||Throws: Left|
|May 12, 2006 for the Philadelphia Phillies|
(through August 18, 2012)
|Earned run average||3.34|
|Career highlights and awards|
Colbert Michael "Cole" Hamels (born December 27, 1983 in San Diego, California) is a left-handed starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Hamels throws a four-seam fastball, a circle changeup, a curveball, and a cut fastball, which he added in 2010 in place of a sinker he occasionally threw. He was named Most Valuable Player of the 2008 World Series and National League Championship Series after posting a 4–0 record in the postseason.
Cole Hamels attended Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, California. Hamels performed well on the SAT, getting a 1510 (math + verbal, out of 1600). According to Tony Gwynn, a lot of scouts were interested in Hamels while he was pitching for RBHS because his fastball was clocked as high as 94 miles per hour (151 km/h), and because his secondary offerings were considered advanced. However, he broke his pitching arm in his sophomore year, so teams, including the San Diego Padres, lost interest.
Hamels began his professional baseball career in 2003, pitching for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws of the South Atlantic League. Later that season, he was promoted to the Clearwater Threshers of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League. After the 2003 season, Hamels received the Paul Owens Award as the best pitcher in the Phillies' minor league system.
During the next two seasons, however, Hamels was plagued by injuries and pitched only sparingly. He missed most of the 2004 season with an elbow injury. In 2005, he broke his pitching hand in a bar fight before the season began, and once he recovered, then hurt his back, and was shut down for the rest of the season.
In 2006, a healthy Hamels started again at Clearwater, and after a brief stint with the Reading Phillies of the Class AA Eastern League, he was promoted to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons of the Class AAA International League, where in just three games, he struck out 36 batters while giving up only one walk and one run. His minor league totals were 14–4, with 273 strikeouts in 35 games pitched.
Hamels was called up to the Phillies in May 2006. In his MLB debut on May 12, he pitched five scoreless innings in which he allowed only one hit, striking out seven batters but walking five, but earned a no-decision against the Cincinnati Reds when reliever Ryan Madson gave up a 2-run lead. In his second career start, Hamels was dominant until the seventh inning, in which he was pulled after he allowed several baserunners, but again received a no-decision. A shoulder injury scratched Hamels from the lineup of what would have originally been his third major league start. He was put on the 15-day disabled list and returned on June 6 to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 10–1, for his first Major League victory. On August 14, 2006, Hamels had his best start of his rookie campaign, shutting out the New York Mets over eight innings and striking out nine in the 13–0 victory.
On April 21, 2007, Hamels struck out 15 Reds in his first career complete game. He allowed one run on five hits and two walks, setting a career high for strikeouts. On May 16, 2007, he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning, where he walked leadoff man Rickie Weeks and then surrendered a home run to the next batter, J. J. Hardy. He struck out 11 batters in a 6–2 decision over the Milwaukee Brewers. On June 12, 2007, Hamels went eight innings to become the first National League pitcher of the season to win nine games.
On July 1, 2007, he was named to the NL All Star Team for the first time. On August 22, Hamels was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a mild left elbow strain. On September 28, he pitched the Phillies into first place by striking out 13 Washington Nationals over 8 innings in a 6–0 win.
Hamels finished with an impressive regular-season record of 15–5. The Philadelphia chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America presented him the "Steve Carlton Most Valuable Pitcher" award.
Before the season got underway in March, Hamels made a complaint about the Phillies underpaying him, saying it was a "low blow" and he was "caught off-guard" with the gap between what he and agent John Boggs felt was a fair reward for his performance last season and what he was paid.
Hamels led the Phillies throughout the first month of the season in most pitching categories, including wins (3), ERA (2.70), and innings pitched (43⅓). Continuing his dominance into May, Hamels recorded his first career complete game shutout against the Atlanta Braves on the 15th of that month.
Less than one month later, Hamels followed with a repeat of that complete game, beating the Reds, 5–0, on June 5. Though the Phillies were a picture of inconsistency through June, posting a long streak of wins followed by a prolonged team-wide slump, Hamels posted a 3–1 record and a 2.61 ERA in the month.
Hamels pitched in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Brewers, pitching eight strong innings and striking out nine while notching his first career playoff win. He was named the MVP of the National League Championship Series, going 2–0 in the NLCS with a 1.93 ERA and winning the series clincher on October 15 in Los Angeles. He also recorded the win in Game 1 of the World Series, surrendering two runs in seven innings of work. Overall, Hamels made five postseason starts in 2008, going 4–0 with a 1.80 ERA.
Hamels was named Most Valuable Player of the World Series, making him only the fifth player to win two post-season MVP awards in the same year. The previous double-winners were Willie Stargell in 1979, Darrell Porter in 1982, Orel Hershiser in 1988 and Liván Hernández in 1997. The New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) likewise chose him as the World Series MVP, presenting him the Babe Ruth Award. The Philadelphia chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America presented him the "Steve Carlton Most Valuable Pitcher" award for the second consecutive year.
Hamels started his 2009 season by signing a 3-year, $20.5 million deal with the Phillies. On February 14, the first day of spring training for pitchers and catchers, when asked who the Opening Day starter would be, manager Charlie Manuel responded:
Yeah, you might as well go ahead and pencil him in [...] I don't think there's any sense in me playing games. Go ahead, pencil him in.
However, Hamels left Spring Training on March 16 and flew to Philadelphia to have his left elbow examined by Dr. Michael Ciccotti. Hamels felt tightness in between innings and after he was done pitching for the day. "This will obviously set me back a couple of days, and I don't think that should be a big deal", said Hamels. Ciccotti found no structural damage in his arm. Hamels did not pitch on Opening Day, even though no structural damage was evident. Hamels posted a 10–11 record and a 4.32 ERA in the regular season, his first major league season in which he posted a sub-.500 record, and the worst ERA of his career to that point. However, Hamels' strikeout, walk, line drive, ground ball and fly ball rates all remained similar, while his home run rate saw an increase of .01 home runs allowed per nine innings pitched. Hamels's fielding-independent pitching also remained the same from 2008 to 2009 at 3.72, with Hamels' batting average on balls in play increasing from .270 to .325. Sabermetricians such as Tom Tango and Rob Neyer have disputed the common belief that something was wrong with Hamels during the 2009 season. Baseball Prospectus' Matt Swartz went deeper into the statistics, checking marks such as percentage of strikes thrown, percentage of balls hit to the outfield, percentage of pitches fouled, missed, pulled, hit to center, and hit to the opposite field, as well as percentage of hitters with two strikes that he struck out.
Hamels started the second game of the 2009 National League Division Series, allowing four earned runs through five innings to take the loss. The Phillies, however, won the series, three games to one. Hamels earned the win in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, as the Phillies beat the Dodgers, 8–6. Hamels started Game 3 of the World Series against the New York Yankees, pitching 4 1⁄3 innings, allowing 5 earned runs and taking the loss. Afterward, Hamels told reporters, "I can't wait for it to end." Later in the series, this prompted his teammate, Brett Myers, to ask Hamels: "What are you doing here? I thought you quit." The Phillies lost the World Series to the Yankees in 6 games.
In 2010, Hamels rebounded from his previous season by posting a 12-11 record with a 3.06 ERA, the lowest in his career to that his point. He also struck out a career high 211 batters. Hamels started Game 3 of the 2010 National League Division Series against the Reds, and pitched a complete game shutout of just 5 hits. The Phillies advanced to the 2010 National League Championship Series, where Hamels was recorded with the loss in Game 3 against the Giants.
Hamels finished the 2011 season with a record of 14-9, 194 strikeouts, an ERA of 2.79, and a 0.986 WHIP. On July 3, when the rosters for the 2011 MLB All-Star game in Phoenix, Arizona were announced on TBS, Hamels was voted in along with fellow pitchers and teammates Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee; however, he was not eligible to play because he had pitched the Sunday prior to the All-Star Game. He finished fifth in the Cy Young Voting behind Clayton Kershaw, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Ian Kennedy respectively.
During the 2011 off-season, Cole Hamels underwent elbow and hernia surgeries. Hamels had missed scheduled starts in August due to a stiff shoulder, and the loose bodies removed from his elbow were to solve that. Hamels was ready to pitch by the start of Spring Training of 2012.
On January 17, Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed to a one year, $15 million contract to avoid arbitration. On May 6, Hamels was suspended for five games after hitting Bryce Harper in his lower back with a pitch, after admitting that it was intentional. On July 21, 2012, Hamels hit his first career home run off San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain, who homered before in the same game. Hamels would stay a member of the Phillies when he agreed to a contract extension on July 24. The six-year, $144 million contract was the second-biggest contract ever signed by a pitcher. The deal includes a vesting option for 2019 worth $24 million. If the option doesn't vest, it turns into a club option for $20 million that includes a $6 million buyout.
He lives in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Heidi Strobel, whom he married on December 31, 2006. Strobel was a contestant on the sixth edition of the reality show Survivor. They welcomed their first child, son Caleb Michael, on October 9, 2009. Their second son, Braxton, was born on November 2, 2011. Cole is the oldest of three, with a younger brother Mitchell and a younger sister Jillian, who lives in San Francisco, California, and attends San Francisco State University. Hamels' parents, Gary and Amanda Hamels, reside in San Diego.
In a promotion video for the first person shooter video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Hamels appeared denouncing a phenomenon in the game known as grenade spam. The video is currently on YouTube and led a competing game to Modern Warfare 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, to release a YouTube video of their own, this time featuring New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia. The video with Sabathia pokes fun at Hamels' video while promoting Battlefield.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Cole Hamels|
|Awards and achievements|
|Steve Carlton Most Valuable Pitcher
|National League Championship Series MVP
|World Series MVP