The Philadelphia Phillies have put together one of the best starting rotations on paper that MLB has seen in years. Cole Hamels is listed as the No. 4 starter in the rotation, but he has the talent to be a No. 1 pitcher on most teams. Here is a look back at the other great No. 4 starters in MLB history.
Team: Atlanta Braves
Millwood went on to have a pretty successful career, but he was never able to match the numbers he put up in '98 and '99.
Team: Baltimore Orioles
In '71, the Orioles had a pitching rotation very similar to the current Phillies rotation. The team decided to go with primarily a four-man rotation, with all four winning over 20 games that season. Ironically McNally never did blow anyone away with strikeouts, but was still very effective. McNally had four great seasons from 1968-1971, but after the '71 season, he began to lose more and more games every year.
Team: New York Mets
Fernandez had a breakout year as a 23-year-old in 1986. Listed as the No. 4 starter, he was able to lead the Mets to a World Series title. Over his career Fernandez became just an average pitcher, but had his best season in '86 as the fourth man.
Team: Chicago Cubs
The Cubs had a very strong pitching rotation in 1906. Lundgren was put at the No. 4 spot behind Mordecai Brown, Jack Pfiester and Ed Rulbach. The top three all had sub 2.00 ERA's and won at least 19 games. Lundgren, however, had a very strong year as well with 17 wins and a 2.21 ERA. Today, Lundgren's numbers would make him an MVP candidate. Lundgren finished with a very strong career, with a lifetime 91-55 record.
Team: New York Yankees
Andy Pettitte had a big year in 2009 after being named the No. 4 starter in the rotation at the beginning of the season. After winning 14 games during the regular season, and eventually moving up to being the No. 3 starter after Chien-Ming Wang got hurt, Pettitte helped lead the Yankees to a World Series title after pitching on just three days rest in Game 6 against Philadelphia.
Pettitte pitched well again in 2010 and decided to retire this offseason. There is still speculation about his possible return to the majors, but Pettitte's career had a resurgence in 2009 as the No. 4 starter on the team.
Team: Atlanta Braves
Maddux finished second in the Cy Young voting in 1997 while he was the No. 4 pitcher in the Braves' rotation. Maddux had tough competition, with Pedro Martinez fanning 305 batters that year. Maddux was named the No. 4 starter even after winning the Cy Young award four straight years from 1992-1995. Maddux went on to have a Hall-of-Fame-caliber career.
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies have one of the best rotations on paper that the league has seen since the Atlanta Braves of the '90s and the Baltimore Orioles of the late '70s. If Hamels is able to put up the numbers that he has in recent seasons, he can make a strong case to be another top No. 4 pitcher in MLB history.