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News » Almost perfect: Hamels wins World Series MVP award

Almost perfect: Hamels wins World Series MVP award

Almost perfect: Hamels wins World Series MVP award
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Standing near the mound he owned in October, Cole Hamels clutched his World Series MVP trophy and accepted keys to a sparkling new sports car.

Life is good when you're 24 and already king of the hill.

"As I go into this offseason and each week creeps closer and closer to a new, fresh season, I might think about it more," Hamels said. "I know people will look at me differently, expect probably more out of me."

This month, though, the lanky lefty did it all for the Philadelphia Phillies. He even won MVP honors Wednesday night without throwing a pitch.

Hamels made five postseason starts and went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, a dazzling display of pressure pitching that earned him two treasured awards.

Already the Most Valuable Player of the NL championship series, he duplicated that feat with two terrific starts against Tampa Bay and joined Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt (1980) as the only World Series MVPs in Philadelphia history.

"I feel like a winner now," Hamels said after the Phillies clinched the Series with a 4-3 victory in Game 5.

He outpitched Scott Kazmir for a 3-2 win in the opener, then tossed six effective innings Monday night before Game 5 was suspended by rain in the middle of the sixth with the score tied 2-all.

"That was the worst weather I've ever pitched in in my entire life, and I really did make the best of it," Hamels said. "I feel like I succeeded, even with all the hard conditions that were thrown my way."

The storm ended Hamels' outing after 75 pitches, but he nearly wound up with a win anyway. When the game resumed Wednesday night, Philadelphia went ahead in the bottom of the sixth on Jayson Werth's bloop single.

That put Hamels in position for a record-breaking victory - on a night when he never took the mound. But the Rays tied it at 3 in the seventh against Philadelphia's bullpen, leaving him with a no-decision.

No matter. The Phillies pulled it out and Hamels was selected MVP, just as he was in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"This is something that you have to live for," Hamels said. "Going out there, I knew I had a job to do. I had the support of these fans, I had my teammates behind me and all I had to really do was just go throw a baseball as well I knew how."

Along with the MVP trophy, Hamels took home a sports car that he planned to give to his wife, who celebrated her 30th birthday Wednesday.

"I'm definitely going to have to enjoy this moment because there's a lot of times you don't have everything go your way," Hamels said. "To come away with a World Series ring is more important to me than an MVP."

Hamels became the fifth player to win LCS and World Series MVPs in one year. The others were Florida pitcher Livan Hernandez (1997), Dodgers ace Orel Hershiser (1988), St. Louis catcher Darrell Porter (1982) and Hall of Fame slugger Willie Stargell (1979) of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Hamels was a dependable and durable No. 1 starter for the Phillies all season, his third in the major leagues. Philadelphia chose him 17th overall in the 2002 amateur draft - two spots after Kazmir was picked by the New York Mets.

Going 14-10 with a 3.09 ERA in 33 starts, Hamels threw a career-high 227 1-3 innings during the regular season. That was 44 innings more than his previous high set last year.

But he hardly looked tired in October. He only got better. The kid with the baffling changeup finished 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two World Series starts - almost perfect.

"This is a great situation. I'm even more excited for that guy who's holding the MVP," said 45-year-old teammate Jamie Moyer. "He deserves it. He's the ace."

No pitcher has won five starts in one postseason, though Hamels came close. Francisco Rodriguez won five times out of the bullpen for the 2002 Anaheim Angels, and Randy Johnson had five wins for the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks - but one came in relief against the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: October 30, 2008

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