Cole Hamels’ Phillies retirement ceremony video and reaction

Philadelphia Phillies

Cole Hamels officially retired from professional baseball as a Phillie on Friday night, hanging up his cleats with the organization he called home for more than a decade. He donned the red pinstripes at Citizens Bank Park once again ahead of the Phillies’ series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks, as he was honored during a pregame ceremony.

“Citizens Bank, this is by far one of the best sports venues to play and to come watch a game,” Hamels said when he took the mic. “It’s because of this atmosphere that players wanna come here, or they wanna get on the bus and get the hell out. … Philly is not for weakness. You definitely learn that. Greatness happens when you work hard and take some really well timed chances.”

Drafted in the first round by the Phillies in 2002 and making his big-league debut in 2006, Hamels was a central part of one of the franchise’s most successful eras ever. He started 294 games during his 10 seasons in Philly, winning the 2008 World Series MVP at just 24 and piling up the third most strikeouts (1,844) and sixth most wins (114) in franchise history.

Hamels, who last pitched in 2020, was a model of consistency, with an ERA that topped 4.00 just once with the Phillies after his rookie season. Perhaps the best example of that came in 2015 in his final outing for the team, when, four days before he was traded to the Rangers, Hamels tossed a no-hitter against the Cubs. He was 31 and nearing 2,000 innings pitched for his career, but showed he still had as much in the tank as anyone.

» READ MORE: The game has changed and so has Cole Hamels, who drilled Bryce Harper in 2012: ‘That was what you did’

Nine years and three teams later, there was only one team with which Hamels was willing to call it quits.

Hosted by public address announcer Dan Baker, the ceremony featured special guests including Hamels’ battery mate Carlos Ruiz, former starters Jamie Moyer and Roy Oswalt, and more. But none got a louder ovation than former manager Charlie Manuel, who suffered a stroke last fall.

The video for tribute for Hamels featured a cast of former teammates, including Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Shane Victorino, as well as current Phillies, like Aaron Nola, who spent time with Hamels during his final season with the team.

“My teammates — we have a special group. This is a bond that we’ll grow forever,” Hamels told the crowd. He later added, “We all had the same mindset, and it was to win — at all costs. It was special.”

As part of the ceremony, Hamels was presented with a pair of gifts from the organization. First, Nola, who made the start after Hamels’ 2015 no-hitter, and Kyle Schwarber, who was in the other dugout as a member of the Cubs, presented him with the pitching rubber from Wrigley Field and the original lineup card from that game. Then, managing partner John Middleton and Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt presented Hamels with a one-of-a-kind, hand-painted glove by artist Sean Kane.

» READ MORE: Cole Hamels returns to be ‘the center’ of the Bank once more and retire a Phillie

Hamels also threw out the first pitch to Ruiz, with one final surprise.

In addition to thanking his family, coaches, teammates, and the organization, especially Middleton and the ownership group, Hamels spent the largest portion of his speech speaking directly to the fans.

“For you, the fans, I have so many words of thank you to describe what you guys mean to me. You guys are authentic, and I think as an athlete you want to be able to play in front of someone who really cheers you and wants the best for you day in and day out. The sports radio, all day and night, you guys pay attention. The jerseys, the sea of red, everywhere you go, you guys follow us. You believe in us, hence the boos.

“But it’s OK, we as players completely understand. We didn’t want to fail, and you guys wanted the best for us. And that’s what you want, we want to give it to you. Unless you’re the Mets. Your cheers are well timed, and I think we experienced quite a few, especially when it had anything to do with football. I know the cheering is deafening at times. It motivates you through a tough season, a tough run. You guys are behind us and we never ever wanted to let you down. I think that’s what enabled us to be able to play each year better and better.

“And we had that team, you guys and us — we were one. And that’s what we did when we won. It was all of us. We won together, and we celebrated down Broad Street together. I can’t thank you for your passion and for accepting us into your hearts and your homes. I look forward to being one of you forever. I’m lucky to call Philadelphia a home. You guys are my family and I’m lucky to be here.”

The special moment on Friday night was quick to ignite a wave of reaction on social media, as Phillies fans sorted through all kinds of emotions while bidding farewell to one of their own.

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