Cole Hamels was just 24 years old when he stood on top of the world. The California-native had pitched five games in the 2008 postseason, the Philadelphia Phillies had won all five, and now the three-year MLB veteran hoisted the World Series MVP trophy.
15 years later, in the spring of 2023, Hamels attempted his third and final MLB comeback, this time with the San Diego Padres, he never pitched a single inning, even in the minor leagues.
Now, according to a report from Dennis Lin of The Athletic, Hamels’ agent released a statement announcing his retirement. The final active member of that vaunted ‘08 squad, Hamels ended his career with with a 3.43 ERA, a better mark than legends like Curt Schilling, Dennis Eckersley and Zack Grienke. His 59.0 career rWAR places him atop Hall of Famers Whitey Ford, Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown and Sandy Koufax.
During his latest comeback attempt, Hamels had been troubled by his surgically repaired shoulder, he was struggling to throw without pain.
The 39-year-old appeared in 15 Major League seasons, 10 of them with the Phillies. For his playoff efforts throughout Philadelphia’s legendary 2007-11 run, he will surely be inducted into the team’s Wall of Fame. Two further hurdles will be his number retirement and the call to Cooperstown.
Hamels seems just short of several counting stats likely needed for the MLB Hall of Fame. His 163 career wins and 2,560 strikeouts rank 221st and 33rd all-time respectively.
The Phillies tend to only retire numbers of players in the Hall of Fame, but that tradition was broken in 2020 when they honored Dick Allen.
Whether or not the club chooses to retire Hamels’ iconic 35 (only one player has worn it since, Oscar Mercado), his legacy will endure as one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history.