Adam Wainwright threw his first MLB pitch on September 11, 2005. Nearly 600 regular season and playoff games with the St. Louis Cardinals later, the 6-foot-7, right-handed hurler from Georgia is ready to call his career history.
Wainwright leaves behind a Cardinals team that fell way short of expectations in 2023. The 42-year-old had a poor individual season, posting a 7.40 ERA on a team that went from first to worst in the NL Central. Nonetheless, the focus now is on the impressive body of work he posted for the redbirds.
Cardinals manager Oli Marmol said that Wainwright will not pitch again in 2023, which means we have officially seen the last of Waino in MLB. The veteran pitcher is in a positive state of mind as he enters the final days of his career, according to Katie Woo of The Athletic.
“I’m in a really good place,” Wainwright said, via The Athletic. “Mentally, I mean, just no regrets about anything I ever did. No second thoughts of if I’m making the right decision of pitching or retiring. All of that, I’m at peace with all of it, in a spot I’ve never been. I tried to do everything I could. I literally left everything I had out there, for real.”
Wainwright left his mark on one of the best franchises in baseball, becoming the third pitcher in franchise history to collect 200 wins. He ranks second in strikeouts and bWAR behind only the all-time great Bob Gibson and ranks third in games played and innings among pitchers. Waino made three All-Star teams, won two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger and received Cy Young votes in five seasons, including in 2021, his age-39 season. He came in seventh that year and was top three in the previous four.
The Cardinals reached the mountaintop twice in Wainwright's career. He was injured for the Cardinals' 2011 World Series run but was a key piece in 2006, serving as a bullpen arm that didn’t allow a single run in 9.2 postseason innings, including a save in the decisive Game 5. He has a career postseason ERA of 2.83 with 123 strikeouts across 114.1 innings.
After watching franchise icons Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols retire last season, the Cardinals will wish Adam Wainwright a happy and healthy retirement when their 2023 campaign concludes.