St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright once again makes history on Opening Day in what should be his final season in professional baseball.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright has once again made history.
In his Opening Day start against the Pittsburgh Pirates, where Wainwright threw six shutout innings, he became the fourth oldest pitcher to throw 6+ scoreless innings on Opening Day. The three oldest pitchers to do so?
41 years, 343 days: Rip Sewell, 1949.
41 years, 89 days: Charlie Hough, 1989.
40 years, 239 days: Roger Clemens, 2003.
40 years, 220 days: Adam Wainwright, 2022.
The outing was also the 305th career start for Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina as battery mates, the fourth-most between pitcher and catcher since 1900, via Sarah Langs of MLB.com, trailing only MIckey Lolich-Bill Freehan (324); Warren Spahn-Del Crandall (316); Red Faber-Ray Schalk (306).
Setting records, specifically the record for battery mates, is a primary reason why Wainwright and Molina decided to come back for the 2022 season. But if Wainwright continues to pitch at this level, and last season’s numbers would indicate that he can, it brings into question whether he should pitch in 2023.
For now, at least, it appears that Wainwright certainly can pitch into 2023 as he continues to avoid declining in his age-41 season. And when the Cardinals needed him most, especially with Jack Flaherty on the injured list for an indefinite amount of time, he once again stepped up and made history.
Before that outing, however, the team honored Wainwright and Molina, as well as the newly signed Albert Pujols, a moment that brought Wainwright to tears.
“That was unbelievable,” Wainwright said, via The Athletic. “… I was walking up and saw (Cardinals Hall of Famer) Ozzie Smith and as soon as he started smiling, I started tearing up.”
What a career and what a way to start his (very likely) last season with the Cardinals.