By Peter Gleason
After the traded great quarterback Sonny Jurgensen to the Redskins in 1964, Eagles GM Joe Kuharich famously said:
“Trading quarterbacks is rare but it’s not unusual.”
And so it is with trading franchise pitchers, as the Phillies did last night when they shipped Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers for a boatload of talent that will expedite the Phillies’ rebuild.
Here is a small list of what the team and Philly will be missing without Hamels:
Hamels’ wife (above left of Cole in photo) was once a contestant on CBS “Survivor”
Here’s a snippet from a Philadelphia Inquirer story on Heidi Strobel:
When you’re cute and blond – and married to Cole “Hollywood” Hamels – and you’ve survived Survivor, and oh, yeah, you’ve appeared topless on the cover of Playboy, people get a certain impression about you. And it’s pretty superficial.
But Heidi Hamels’ daily reality – as a businesswoman and hands-on philanthropist – tells a bigger story.
“I don’t know what people think I do,” says Heidi, who holds a master’s degree in secondary education from West Chester University. “People want to think your life is glamorous and all that. It’s not. We’re everyday people. I’m the wife driving the U-Haul back from spring training.”
Heidi works 12-hour-plus days to establish herself as being separate and apart from Wife of Cole, or worse, eye candy on an athlete’s arm.
The fact that Heidi took her clothes off for peanut butter and chocolate on Survivor didn’t help.
“They made me out to be the big, blond cheerleader, not somebody with a brain,” she still fumes. She placed fifth and barely survived afterward, when she dwindled to 78 pounds. She also was paralyzed from the waist down for nearly a month from a spider bite. She says she posed for Playboy in part to pay off medical bills.
How the couple met: In 2004, when Cole was a minor leaguer, Heidi was throwing out the first pitch at ballgames as part of “Survivor Night,” then signing autographs “He was the one who was in my autograph line,” she says of a stop in Clearwater, Fla. They wed on New Year’s Eve 2006.
The Hamels are charitable
The Hamels Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization founded by Hamels and his wife. The Hamels Foundation has a dual purpose to provide support for quality education in the United States and establish a school in Malawi, Africa. Founded by the couple in 2008, it awarded more than $1 million in supporting Philadelphia schools in seven years.
“Heidi and I have always tried to focus on being the best we can be with this stuff because you don’t have a lot of opportunities to do it and it’s not going to last forever. It will eventually be over and we don’t want to regret anything,” Hamels told the Daily News in 2012.
On a Christmas Eve, Hamels and his wife adopted a daughter from Ethiopia who was abandoned at birth. The couple has three children.
Of the adoption, Hamels said at the time: “If I can bring a kid into this life and provide for somebody that doesn’t have everything that is involved with growing up and provide better amenities. … It’s about trying to help someone out.”
Hamels’ involvement in Africa originated during his 2006 honeymoon in South Africa with Heidi.
“In addition to enjoying our honeymoon, we got to know about Africa and its issues,” Hamels told the Inquirer. They later learned about Malawi from Heidi’s friend, Ethan Zohn. Heidi and Zohn were contestants on Survivor, though in different seasons. Cole and Heidi decided to dedicate his foundation to opening a school in that impoverished country.
“I think education is the way to get out of situations of extreme poverty, and to better yourself,” Hamels said. “I’d love to introduce baseball there, too, but these are all just goals right now. That’s what we initially want to do.”
How good is he?
Despite dreams of Cy Young Awards, Hamels has finished in the top five of the voting only once. He’s never won 20 games and has finished with more than 14 wins only twice – and one of those two seasons was eight years ago.
He is a three-time All-Star and pitched a no-hitter this past weekend. He also pitched a combined no-hitter last season.
But as far as giving up runs, Hamels doesn’t. His career ERA is 3.30. He also is dependable, having started at least 30 games in each season since 2008.
For the baseball stat geeks who know a lot: Hamels ranks fifth among all active pitchers in adjusted ERA+. More info on that here:
He’s cool on the mound
Noise. Pressure. High stakes. None of it bothers Cool Hamels.
“He’s always been that way,” his mother, Amanda, said to the Inquirer in 2007. “We’ve always been amazed how nothing rattles him. I remember watching him pitch big games when he was in high school. I’d ask him, ‘What are you thinking about when everyone is yelling and screaming?’ He told me, ‘The only thing I see is the mitt.’ ”
Hamels had dreamed of being in the big leagues since he started dedicating himself to baseball in middle school. Amanda Hamels saw that dedication every day in the backyard. Her son always had a baseball in his hand. He always was experimenting with grips. He always was throwing.
“He was so accurate,” she said. “He could pick out something at any distance and nail it.”
Often, Hamels’ target was a mitt held by his father, Gary.
“When Cole got to be about 13, his dad said, ‘I can’t catch this kid anymore,’ ” Amanda Hamels said, laughing.
Hames is known for having one of the best change-ups in the game. His arsenal: 4-seam fastball, circle change, curveball and cut fastball
His World Series ring
Cole Hamels was the World Series MVP and NCLS MVP in 2008. After the Series, he chatted with David Letterman, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, spoke about education in Malawi, and began a transition from baseball phenom to mainstream celebrity.