Cole Hamels worried a lot about No. 1 — himself — way back when in spring training.
Eight months later, Hamels can take pride in being the No. 1 player on the top team in the majors.
With his contract squabble long since minimized and team goals paramount, Hamels was named MVP of the World Series on Wednesday night after the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in Game Five.
"I feel like a winner now," said Hamels, who also took home a 2010 Chevy Camaro.
He was a winner in more ways than one on Wednesday because he gave his wife the car for her birthday.
And this is his wife!
Hamels went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in the playoffs, including 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two World Series starts. Hamels beat Scott Kazmir in Game One and went six strong innings in Game Five on Monday before it was suspended by bad weather and delayed two days.
The 50-hour wait appears to be worth it, as should the time Hamels has waited to get paid the bucks befitting an ace. In February, the 24-year-old Hamels called the Phillies renewing his contract for $500,000 "a low blow." He later called his own comment immature and put all of it behind him long before Game Five, when Hamels probably could not get any higher. The Phils hadn't won a World Series since 1980, when Hamels and several teammates weren't even born yet.
Hamels, nicknamed "Hollywood" by teammates because of handsome looks and the ambition to be an ace, won 14 games in the regular season, his third in the majors. He got the victory in the postseason opener against the Milwaukee Brewers, Philly's first playoff win since 1993. He also won the deciding game of the NLCS against the Dodgers.
Now, he's a World Series MVP.
Think that's something he can take to arbitration?