Cliff Lee spent two stints with the Phillies, his first being a rental for half of the season via a trade from Cleveland in 2009. The second was when he signed as a free agent in 2011 and became part of one of the best rotations in the history of baseball with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, and Joe Blanton.
It is, honestly, hard to decide which stint was more exciting. We got to see Cliff Lee in a World Series against the Evil Empire in 2009. He was the only pitcher on the staff that was effective, winning two games in a 4-2 World Series defeat.
The amount of swagger this guy had was ridiculous.
Waking up to the news that Cliff Lee was returning to Philly in 2011 was like Christmas morning. Roy Halladay was incredible and set the example of what a pitcher should be, but there was something about Lee that was so enticing. He had a gravity about him.
That 2011 season was absolute magic. Obviously, it didn’t end well as they were eliminated in the Divisional Round of the postseason. But the ride was something that will never be forgotten by this fanbase.
As a Phillie, Lee threw 12 complete games and had a K/BB rate of 6.56 in 118 games in the red pinstripes. Eight of those twelve games were shutouts. In his five years in Philadelphia, he had a WHIP of 1.09. Filthy.
Lee’s six shutouts during the 2011 season are the third-most in franchise history during the live-ball era, and his 7.393 strikeouts per walk is the best in franchise history.