In the summer of 2005, it looked like Cole Hamels was going to be yet another high school pitcher selected in the first round draft bust. After one season in the minors, he missed most of the 2004 season with an elbow problem and in 2005, he broke his pitching hand in a bar fight before the season began. Once his hand healed, he was shut down with a back injury.
Phillies fans (myself included) prepared ourselves for the worst. We had seen our share of mistakes in the first round including Tyler Green in 1991, Carlton Loewer in 1994, Dave Coggin in 1995, and most painfully JD Drew in 1997.
Fast forward to the 2008 post season. Cole Hamels has come back from those early career bumps and has established himself as a top flight pitcher in the National League.
NLDS Game 1: Brewers at Phillies - Cole Hamels pitched eight shutout innings of two-hit ball while striking out nine to give the Phillies their first playoff victory since Game 5 of the 1993 World Series. Phils go on to win the Series 3 games to 1.
NLCS Game 1: Dodgers at Phillies - Cole Hamels pitched seven innings, giving up single runs in the first and fourth innings, striking out 8 Dodgers. The Phils offense puts up three runs in the sixth inning for the 3-2 win.
NLCS Game 5: Phillies at Dodgers - Cole Hamels pitches seven innings of five hit, one run baseball leading his team to the NL pennant and the NLCS MVP trophy.
World Series Game 1: Phillies at Rays - Cole Halems once again delivers seven quality innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 runs. The Phillies score two in the first and the deciding run in the fourth inning to take the first game of the series.
World Series Game 5: Rays at Phillies - The game started on Monday night with Cole on the mound looking to become the first pitcher to gather 5 wins in a single post season. He pitched six innings before the terrible weather forced the game to be postponed in a 2-2 deadlock.
When Game 5 restarted two nights later, the Phillies scored immediately and closed out the series and their second world championship. Cole Hamels took home the World Series MVP.