Hamels retires as Phillies' No. 35 -- thanks to Dahl

June 22nd, 2024

This story was excerpted from Todd Zolecki’s Phillies Beat newsletter, written this week by Paul Casella. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

PHILADELPHIA -- wanted to make sure there was only one No. 35 Phillies jersey on the field for ' retirement ceremony on Friday night.

That's why Dahl quietly switched his number from No. 35 to No. 31 on Thursday's off-day.

"I respect Cole a lot and what he's done in this organization," Dahl said. "I just felt like he's retiring a Phillie, and with everything going on [Friday night], it's probably best, just out of respect for him, to change numbers."

Dahl actually got to know Hamels last year when the duo was rehabbing together in the Padres' system. Dahl was rehabbing a right quad strain with Triple-A El Paso while Hamels was trying to make one last push to extend his career after signing a Minor League deal with San Diego during Spring Training.

"Not only was he a great pitcher, but just how he treated everyone and how he came to work every day -- I respected him a ton," Dahl said. "So that was the reason for the decision."

Dahl rattled off Hamels' Phillies accolades unprompted prior to Friday's ceremony: "Three All-Stars, a World Series [title], the World Series MVP."

Dahl said he didn't talk to Hamels about the number change ahead of time, though he did get the chance to catch up with the southpaw prior to Friday's ceremony.

The current Phillies outfielder was on his way to dinner with his wife on Thursday night when he just so happened to bump into the former pitcher.

"We just ran into each other on the street and we talked about it," Dahl said. "Like I said, he's just an awesome person; he talked to me for a while. Just a great dude."

For Dahl, there wasn't much significance to the No. 35. That was just the uniform number they gave him when he signed a Minor League deal on Feb. 19, 2024, during Spring Training.

But once Dahl learned that Hamels was retiring as a Phillie during Friday's ceremony, he took it upon himself to swap numbers -- despite the on-field "history" between the two.

Dahl first faced Hamels in the 2018 NL Wild Card Game when the former (Dahl) was with the Rockies and the latter (Hamels) was with the Cubs.

"He carved me up," Dahl recalled. "Kept throwing me left-on-left changeups and I was rolling over."

Dahl got his revenge the following season, when he went 3-for-3 off Hamels in their only other meeting. Consider the uniform gesture a peace offering.

As for Dahl, he wore No. 26 when he first came up with the Rockies, but he obviously wasn't about to switch from Hamels' number to Chase Utley's number.

"There wasn't a ton to choose from, so I just went with 31," he said. "I think it'll be a good number for me."