“Hollywood” was selected in the first round of the 2002 amateur draft. He only started 36 minor league games, over four seasons, before making his major league debut against the Cincinnati Reds on May 12, 2006.
Hamels worked five shutout innings in that contest. While adrenaline likely led to five batters receiving free passes, the left-hander also struck out seven Redlegs and only allowed one hit.
While Hamels didn't earn a win in his first big league contest, he went on to start 210 more games and post a record of 91-60. The California native is surely on a Phillies' Wall of Fame pace, as evidenced by his 2008 National League Championship Series and 2008 World Series Most Valuable Player Awards. He has also finished within the top eight (2007 – sixth, 2011 – fifth and 2012 – eighth) National League Cy Young Award voting slots during his seven-year career.
After signing a justifiable (by baseball free market logic standards) $144 million, six-year contract extension last summer, the now 29-year-old should remain in red pinstripes through at least his mid-30s. By the time he reaches that middle-aged point and in consideration of hopefully good health, he should be within 20-30 wins of the 200 mark, have approximately 2,500 strikeouts and be able to show his family and friends a trophy that represents pitching's top prize.