Ranking the Top 5 greatest starting pitchers in Phillies franchise history

Many great starting pitchers have played for Philadelphia since the franchise's inaugural season in 1883. Which starters are among the elite throughout Phillies history?
Steve Carlton, Philadelphia Phillies
Steve Carlton, Philadelphia Phillies / George Gojkovich/GettyImages
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Throughout the Philadelphia Phillies' long history, the club has had several starters who have excelled on the mound. Only a few starters have won a World Series with Philadelphia, as the club won the Fall Classic in 1980 and 2008.

However, there have been many other starters who were a part of Phillies teams that were runner-ups to the World Series or who pitched excellently during seasons in which Philadelphia was not a good baseball club.

We've already ranked the five greatest catchers, first basemen, second basemen, shortstops, third basemen, and relievers in Phillies history.

It was difficult to leave some starters off of this list. Some pitchers who spent multiple seasons pitching in a Phillies uniform that serve as an honorable mention for this piece include Curt Schilling, Jim Bunning, and Tully Sparks.

Let's take a look at the top five Phillies starting pitchers in franchise history.

No. 5: Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels, the Phillies' 17th overall pick in the 2002 MLB Draft, excelled through the minor league system, which led to his call-up to the majors in 2006. It became apparent early on that the left-hander had the potential to be a special pitcher for the organization over the next several years. The club had been close to advancing to the playoffs for a few seasons before Hamels helped finally break the 14-year drought in 2007.

In his first full season in 2007, the San Diego native emerged as the ace in the Phillies starting rotation. Hamels posted a 15-5 record and a 3.39 ERA in 28 starts. He threw 177 strikeouts and had a 1.12 WHIP in 183 1/3 innings.

Hamels built on his 2007 season by being an integral part of the Phillies winning their second World Series championship in franchise history in 2008. In 227 1/3 innings, he went 14-10 with a 3.09 ERA, finishing with 196 strikeouts and a 1.08 WHIP in 33 contests.

He won the 2008 World Series MVP, going 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts during the postseason. The left-hander finished with 30 strikeouts and a 0.91 WHIP in 35 innings. That was the most successful postseason of his career.

Hamels finished with a career-high 216 strikeouts with Philadelphia in 2012. He started in a game on Sept. 1, 2014, at Turner Field against the Atlanta Braves in what turned out to be the first Phillies combined no-hitter. He threw 108 pitches over six innings before manager Ryne Sandberg made a pitching change. Relievers Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, and Jonathan Papelbon each pitched an inning to complete the perfect game.

His final career highlight with Philadelphia was throwing a no-hitter at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs on July 25, 2015. It was quite a game for his last appearance in a Phillies uniform. He was traded, along with Diekman, to the Texas Rangers for starter Matt Harrison and several prospects on July 31.

Hamels had an incredible career with the Phillies. He's sixth all-time among Phillies pitchers with 114 wins and 1,930 innings and is third all-time with 1,844 strikeouts among Philadelphia pitchers. He retired on Aug. 4, 2023, and the Phillies have added a "Cole Hamels Retirement Night" to their 2024 promotions calendar. The pre-game ceremony is scheduled before the contest against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 21 at Citizens Bank Park.