It's sad to think about, but Adam Wainwright's legendary career with the St. Louis Cardinals is ending in less than a week. #50. Uncle Charlie. Waino. Whatever you call him, he has been a mainstay with St. Louis for nearly 20 seasons (18 to be precise). Wainwright officially made his debut in 2005 as a baby face reliever and is calling it quits here at the end of 2023 as a franchise legend.
Though this season hasn't been the greatest for Waino, he was still able to notch that elusive victory #200 and become just the third St. Louis Cardinal of all-time with 200+ wins. After the game on Monday, Wainwright said that this was one of the best moments of his career, and he's had a lot of moments. So I wanted to take a moment of your time, dig in, and look back at some of the top moments of Adam Wainwright's career.
*Honorary* Win #200 - 09/18/2023
We'll start off with an honorable mention. More of a milestone than an actual moment, but it sure felt good in the moment. Win #200.
For all of 2023, it was pretty obvious the big milestone for Adam Wainwright was to notch career win #200. There was some early optimism that he may knock that door down early on and try to chase down Jessie Haines for second all-time at 210, but early season injuries mirrored with struggles brought those expectations back down to earth. In fact, most of the season has been a struggle for Wainwright. A historical struggle. He endured a wallop in the U.K. on an international stage. A beating in Houston, we don't talk about. And, a career-worst 1 inning performance against the lowly Kansas City Royals where he looked, plainly, awful. It was 11 starts between win 198 against the Mets and win #199 against the Orioles in Baltimore. Man did he earn it.
That brought him home at Busch to face the Brewers and get his chance for #200. Wainwright admitted that in his Warm-up, he didn't feel he had his best stuff but that he was going to leave it all out on the line for the chance. Boy did he. As if he owned a time machine Wainwright turned back the clock for this September night and pitched a masterpiece. The only time all season he didn't allow a single run, Wainwright worked wonderfully through 7 strong innings allowing only 4 hits, and got the run support he needed, 1, on a Wilson Contreras solo homerun to earn win #200.
He did it in vintage Wainwright fashion, getting double-play balls and working out of jams. Getting a key strike out here or a clutch fly out there. It was an oasis for the soon-to-be-retired veteran in what has been such a tough season for him, and the Cardinals in 2023. For one last time, Wainwright was the ace and that was a beautiful moment to watch.