After a long layoff between wins 198 and 199, Wainwright managed to reach 200 on his first attempt. And he did so by pitching his best game of the season, and his most dominant outing since August of last year.
His last start of at least seven innings came against the Rockies on August 18. But in spectacular fashion, the veteran right-hander turned back the clock and pitched like his old self in the series opener against the Brewers.
200 wins is a big deal for any pitcher, especially Wainwright. The right-hander is the last holdover from the Cardinals World Series championship teams in 2006 and 2011. For some fans, he is the last remaining legend of their childhood.
Last year, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina retired, leaving just Wainwright as the final holdover from the championship teams. Wainwright returned hoping to finally reach 200 wins and forever etch his name in the history books for the Cardinals.
He came up to the big leagues in 2005. One year later, he took over the reins as the team's closer when Jason Isringhausen went down with a hip injury. All he did was close out all three postseason series, including the NLCS and World Series.
The next year, he became a starter and quickly emerged as one of the team's most dependable pitchers. And he has remained as such over the past several years, despite his struggles this year.
But 200 wins holds a ton of significance. Even more impressive is the fact that Wainwright has done all of this in one uniform. The Cardinals acquired him from the Braves in 2003 in what proved to be one of the most lopsided trades in Cardinals history.
It's safe to say that this deal worked out just fine for the Cardinals.
But more than anything, 200 wins speaks to the longevity of Wainwright's career. He has pitched 18 seasons in the Majors. He's also had more than his fair share of setbacks.
He missed the entire 2011 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He also tore his Achilles in 2015 and missed most of the season before more elbow troubles almost ended his career three years later.
In early 2018, it appeared that we had seen the last of Wainwright, as he left a start in San Diego after suffering another elbow injury. But he refused to go out without a fight, and he changed everything including his diet, his arm angle, and his workout routine.
Sure enough, he returned late in the season and soon re-emerged as one of baseball's best starters. Wainwright has fought through so much, including injuries and other struggles.
But he can finally stand toe-to-toe with other pitchers who have reached the 200-win mark. He is third all-time on the wins list in Cardinals history.
No matter how big the hurdles were, Wainwright kept fighting through them. And each time, he came out on top.
And more than likely, it's going to be a long time before another pitcher reaches 200 wins. Wainwright may ultimately be the last of his kind. But his competitive spirit will live on forever, and he'll be remembered as one of the finest pitchers in Cardinals history.