Cole Hamels has achieved a lot as a professional pitcher, but, as many realize, his accomplished career began in the minor leagues. To honor his time in the developmental ranks, the 30-year-old lefty hurler will have his jersey number 19 retired by the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws prior to the team’s game on Monday, June 9th.
Hamels, who was the Phillies’ top draft choice in 2002 (17th overall), made his pro debut with the BlueClaws in 2003. As a 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League, Hamels tallied a 6-1 record with a 0.84 ERA in 13 starts before earning a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater.
“Cole is the greatest pitcher that has come through Lakewood and certainly worthy of having his #19 retired by the BlueClaws,” said team general manager Chris Tafrow. “His level of dominance as a BlueClaw speaks for itself, and we have been thrilled to see him carry his professional success that started here 11 years ago into a tremendous career with the Phillies. We’re looking forward to seeing him back in Lakewood in June.”
The jersey retirement ceremony will mark Hamels’ first visit back to FirstEnergy Park since he made a rehab appearance for the ‘Claws in June 2006.
Hamels, a three-time All-Star and the MVP of the 2008 World Series, will be the second former BlueClaws player to have such an honor, after Ryan Howard‘s #29 was retired by the team during a rehab appearance in 2010. Additionally, Jackie Robinson‘s #42 is retired across baseball for breaking baseball’s color barrier, and in honor of long-time South Atlantic League/Western Carolinas League President John Henry Moss, #50 is also retired by all SAL clubs.
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