Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright have had a historic career with the St. Louis Cardinals, but will make MLB history by starting 300 games together.
On Friday, for the 300th time of their careers, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina will take the field as teammates. It continues what is arguably the most storied and iconic duo in St. Louis Cardinals history — and it comes in a series against the Milwaukee Brewers with their chances of a postseason berth potentially hanging in the balance.
There are few pitcher/catcher duos who have reached this point. In fact, there are only three: Mickey Lolich/Bill Freehan (324), Warren Spahn/Del Crandall (316) and Red Faber/Ray Schalk (306). That both Wainwright and Molina are becoming the fourth duo to reach such a feat is impressive, especially with careers not lasting as long due to the wear and tear placed on their bodies through a 162-game season.
When you think of the Cardinals, you think of Wainwright and Molina. They have been together for almost two decades and will likely go out together after the 2022 season, especially after Molina signed a one-year, $10 million extension. That increased the chances of Wainwright re-signing, with Molina already beginning to recruit his battery mate for one last run at a World Series in St. Louis.
When both of their careers are over, Wainwright and Molina figure to end up in Cooperstown. Molina, 39, has hit .280/.331/.402 with 168 home runs in 18 seasons while being regarded as the best defensive catcher of this era. Wainwright, 40, has a 3.35 ERA in 16 seasons and is arguably putting his most impressive season together in 2021, posting a 2.97 ERA in 27 starts.
They have been together through it all, with Molina catching Wainwright’s first strikeout in 2005 back when Wainwright was a reliever and threw 75 innings in 61 appearances. He witnessed Wainwright’s first save. He witnessed him make All-Star teams and finish in the top-3 in Cy Young award booting four times while Molina made nine All-Star teams. Basically, if one of them achieved something, there was there to watch and most likely take place in it.
What’s crazy is that Wainwright and Molina could easily be approaching 350 games together. Wainwright, of course, missed the entire 2011 season, made four starts in 2015 and only eight starts in 2018 when there were concerns that his career would be derailed by injuries.
But here they are, 18 years later, ready to take the field for the 300th time together. This is not the end, with Wainwright probably returning for another season, but savor this moment tonight. There’s a strong chance we don’t see something like this again for a very long time — perhaps ever again.