ST. LOUIS – Adam Wainwright cruised to his 200th career win behind seven shutout innings Monday, becoming just the third pitcher in St. Louis Cardinals history to win 200 games with the team.
The energy at Busch Stadium is as close as the Cardinals will get to postseason vibes this season. Tens of thousands erupted in celebration at Busch Stadium as the Cardinals preserved a 1-0 lead over the NL-leading Milwaukee Brewers to secure Wainwright’s milestone win.
And the night proved quite an emotional moment for Wainwright too, who shared hugs in the dugout and on the field, gave a speech on the field, and enjoyed a clubhouse celebration in epic fashion.
Wainwright, in a one-on-one chat with Mike Claiborne following the game, thanked the crowd and his family for helping him grind through a tough final season to reach 200 wins.
“I love this city. I love being a St. Louis Cardinal, and I love that I got to play my whole career here,” said Wainwright in his postgame on-field interview.
Moments later, Wainwright spoke to media members on his big achievement and echoed a similar sentiment with his son Caleb sitting side-by-side and occasionally stealing the show in the presser.
“Being able to do it here in front of the home crowd was incredibly special,” said Wainwright. “I had an idea today coming to the park that I was going to let everything I had, I was going to lay it all out because I really wanted it to happen here.”
“One of the most fun games I’ve ever pitched in my life,” he continued. “It certainly will go down as a Top-3 moment for me ever baseball wise.”
It wasn’t a guarantee Wainwright would reach 200 wins after some unprecedented midseason struggles. He went 12 starts between his 198th win in mid-June and his 199th win last week. He didn’t waste any time for 200, getting it in his first opportunity.
“Every time I got knocked down, I got back up,” said Wainwright. “I got knocked down a bunch. I had to get back up a bunch. But you know what I had? I had incredible family behind me. I had incredible teammates and coaching staff behind me.”
Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt II, manager Oli Marmol and Waino’s catcher Willson Contreras know just how special the moment was for Wainwright as he nears retirement.
“It’s incredible,” said DeWitt. “The fact that he did it all with one franchise, the Cardinals, I can’t say enough good things about Waino and what he’s meant to the team. He deserves it.
“It’s impressive to be in that group [of 200-game winners],” said Marmol. “It takes a lot of sacrifice to be able to play for as long as he has. He continues to invest in the young players, and that’ll be here for a long time.”
“I’m proud of him because I know he’s doing his best,” said Contreras via Bally Sports Midwest. “That shows me how much he loves this team and how much he loves this city.”
Wainwright joins Bob Gibson (251) and Jesse Haines (210) as the only pitchers with at least 200 wins in a Cardinals uniform. Only Gibson had more while spending his entire MLB career as a Cardinal. Wainwright also becomes just the 37th player to win 200 games with just one team.
Wainwright is lined up for one more start two more starts to try to build on his 200 wins, if the Cardinals keep their rotation plans intact before the season’s end. Those would be this weekend in San Diego and in the last home series against the Cincinnati Reds.
The Cardinals will celebrate Wainwright’s career in that final home series against the Reds with three days worth of celebrations, including a Saturday postgame concert and a Sunday pregame ceremony.