Perfect Hamels is World Series MVP

Perfect Hamels is World Series MVP

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies left-hander extraordinaire Cole Hamels hails from Southern California, home of the famous In-N-Out Burger chain with its equally famous double-double burger.

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So he'll understand the reference to his rare double-double this postseason: the World Series MVP award, presented by Chevrolet, and the MVP for his stellar performance in the National League Championship Series.

Heavy on the grilled onions, please.

"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," said Hamels, the 24-year-old who is a World Series winner and MVP in only his third season in the Major Leagues. "I was just fortunate enough to be on the good end of these victories and winning a [few] trophies. But, truly, it was my teammates behind me who really helped me through these times. They're the ones who scored the runs."

Hamels, 4-0 this postseason with a 1.80 ERA, received the World Series MVP in an on-field ceremony just after the Phillies defeated the Rays, 4-3, on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park in the back end of suspended Game 5 to win the best-of-seven series.

Along with the trophy, Hamels won a bright red 2010 Chevy Camaro. He received the car and hardware from Commissioner Bud Selig after Major League Baseball's No. 1 official handed the World Series trophy to Dave Montgomery, the Phils' long-time general partner, and Pat Gillick, their outgoing general manager.

TWICE AS VALUABLE
Five players have been named MVP of a League Championship Series and World Series in the same season.
YearPlayerTeam
2008Cole HamelsPhillies
1997Livan HernandezMarlins
1988Orel HershiserDodgers
1982Darrell PorterCardinals
1979Willie StargellPirates

Since the advent of the League Championship Series in 1969, Hamels is the fifth player to enjoy the double-double, joining outfielder Willie Stargell of Pirates (1979), catcher Darrell Porter of the Cardinals (1982), and pitchers Orel Hershiser of the Dodgers (1988) and Livan Hernandez of the Marlins (1997).

Hamels is also the fourth pitcher in postseason history to win four games in as many starts. The others were Josh Beckett for Boston in 2007, David Wells for the Yankees in 1998 and Dave Stewart for Oakland in 1989.

Hamels started Game 5 on Monday night and worked soaking wet through the top of the sixth inning before heavy rain and dangerous field conditions caused Selig to suspend it with scored tied at 2. When it resumed on Wednesday night, Hamel's spot in the batting order was the first up.

Hamel's jokingly harbored hopes that manager Charlie Manuel might not take him out.

"Shoot, I was telling myself I was still in the game," Hamels said. "I was hoping Charlie might put me up to hit. No, really. I thought that was the best I possibly could do. I thought that was the worst weather I've ever pitched in in my entire life and I really did make the best of it. That game easily could have gotten away from me and the score could have been a different magnitude.

STONE COLE LOCK
Following his NLCS MVP performance, the Phillies' Cole Hamels continued his postseason mastery in the World Series against the Rays.
Series/Gm Opp.W-LERAIPHRKBB
NLDS Gm 1MILW0.0082091
NLCS Gm 1LADW2.5776282
NLCS Gm 5LADW1.2975153
WS Gm 1TBW2.5775252
WS Gm 5TBND3.0065231
Totals4-01.8035237309

"And going into today it could have been a completely different game. We might have been looking at having to head down to Tampa and win it. But I feel like I succeeded, even with all the hard conditions that were thrown my way."

Hamels pitched the first six innings -- half of them in the rain -- on Monday night, allowing two runs on five hits, while walking one and striking out three. In his last half-inning, the infield was as slick as a hockey rink, the ball was as wet as a sponge and the Rays scored the tying run.

When the game resumed on Wednesday night, Geoff Jenkins pinch-hit for Hamels, led off with a booming double and scored on Jayson Werth's single.

So it worked out on both ends.

"I felt like the rain and the wetness of the ball and stuff definitely played a role in the end," Manuel said of Hamels' start on Monday night. "I felt like that definitely he would have gone farther in the game because he had [75] pitches. But that's gone now and, like tonight, we bounced back and we overcame the problem the other night and won the World Series."

All this happened on the night when Hamels' wife was celebrating her birthday.

Heidi Strobe was once a contestant on the CBS show "Survivor: The Amazon" and a Playboy model. They married last year in her Missouri hometown, where she grew up a Cardinals fan.

"It's my wife's 30th birthday today," Hamels said. "She's just excited for this moment, this one thing she loves most. She was the one crying when St. Louis won [in 2006]. I said, 'Why are you crying? I play for the Phillies.' I think she won't ever forget this. At least I won't."

Hamels succeeded in this postseason under all kinds of conditions.

In his Game 1 victory under the Tropicana Field dome, he kept the Rays off balance for seven innings, mixing his dancing changeup with a curve and fastball to allow two runs on five hits in the 3-2 win.

Hamels previously defeated Milwaukee in Game 1 of the Division Series and the Dodgers in Games 1 and 5 of the NLCS. Like Monday night, he also started the second-round clincher, working seven innings, allowing one run on a Manny Ramirez homer and four other Dodgers hits in a 5-1 victory.

Growing up in San Diego County, Hamels competed with a plethora of fine high school players and followed the local Major League teams with relish.

"I rooted for the Dodgers and Padres," he said. "It depended on who was winning."

Since Hamels was born on Dec. 27, 1983, he wasn't yet 5 years old when the Dodgers last won the World Series in 1988. But he was a wiry 14-year-old when the Padres won their last NL pennant in 1998 and were swept by the Yankees in the World Series.

Little did he know that 10 years later he'd have his own World Series title and the double-double MVP. It was something he couldn't even conceive back then.

"No, I couldn't," he said. "I just wanted to play the game. I didn't know where I'd ever end up. And I was fortunate enough for the Phillies to draft me and knowing that they were trying to put together a really good team, and now being a member of what they were able to establish is something I can't thank them for enough.

"Because they truly did give me the opportunity to be here in this city and to win this World Series. All they asked of me was to go out there and play this game that I enjoy and that I live and die for every day."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.