ST. LOUIS – The end of an era is nearing. This weekend marks the last time that Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright will take the field at Busch Stadium as St. Louis Cardinals teammates in a non-postseason format.
Pujols and Molina will wrap up their lengthy and dominant MLB careers when the 2022 season comes to an end. Wainwright has not yet announced his future plans beyond this year.
In seven full seasons as teammates, from 2006 to 2011 and in 2022, the Pujols-Molina-Wainwright trio set a standard that might not ever be matched again in Cardinals history. The three shattered baseball records and won two World Series titles together while taking pride in many charitable efforts off-the-field.
FOX 2 explores some of the top moments in the careers of Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright in a three-part digital series during the Cardinals’ final homestand this weekend. Part I: Adam Wainwright.
- 17 MLB seasons played (2005-2010 and 2012-2022)
- 456 games/389 games started
- 2,562 innings pitched
- 195-116 record (.627 winning percentage)
- 3.36 ERA (earned run average)
- 1.22 WHIP (walks-hits per innings pitched)
- 2,143 strikeouts
- 28 complete games
- 11 shutouts
- June 2000: The Atlanta Braves select Adam Wainwright in the first round of the MLB draft as the 29th overall pick.
- Dec. 13, 2003: The St. Louis Cardinals acquire Wainwright in a five-player deal. The Cardinals also got pitchers Jason Marquis and Ray King while trading outfielder J.D. Drew and catcher Eli Marrero.
- Sept. 11, 2005: Wainwright makes his MLB debut at Busch Stadium II, his only MLB outing at the ballpark before the Cardinals opened Busch Stadium III the following season. He gave up three runs in his first professional inning. Wainwright and Oliver Perez are the only remaining active pitchers to have pitched at Busch II.
- Sept. 23, 2005: Wainwright makes his second and final Cardinals appearance of the season, tossing a clean inning in Milwaukee.
- April 3: Wainwright makes the Opening Day roster out of spring training as a bullpen piece and fires a scoreless inning in the season opener. He whiffs David Dellucci for his first MLB strikeout.
- May 9: Wainwright picks up his first MLB win after a scoreless eighth inning in a home game against the Colorado Rockies. That followed seven strong frames from future rotation mentor Chris Carpenter.
- May 19: Wainwright earns his first MLB save after 2.2 scoreless innings to finish off the interleague rival Kansas City Royals. The outing foreshadowed a closer’s role Wainwright would inherit late into the season.
- May 24: Wainwright gets a rare hitting appearance as a bullpen pitcher and makes the most of it. He takes San Francisco’s Noah Lowry deep for a home run in the first pitch of his first MLB at-bat. The then-rookie is one of 22 players (and seven pitchers) to accomplish that feat.
- Sept. 27: Wainwright officially takes over as the de facto closer following a late-season injury to veteran Jason Isringhausen. Wainwright secures a key home win against the San Diego Padres to help the Cardinals hold onto a narrow division lead.
- Oct. 19: Wainwright faces the toughest test of his rookie season. He gets tasked with closing out the ninth inning a win-or-go-home Game 7 in the National League Championship Series. The assignment comes minutes after battery mate Yadier Molina delivered a late go-ahead home run for a 3-1 Cardinals lead. The New York Mets load the bases with two outs, bringing up frequent postseason hero Carlos Beltran to the plate. On three pitches, ending with his signature curveball, Wainwright strikes out Beltran to help the Cardinals advance to the World Series.
- Oct. 27: Wainwright gets a chance to finish off his third straight postseason series in Game 5 of the Fall Classic. He tosses a scoreless inning against the Detroit Tigers and whiffs Brandon Inge on the signature curveball to secure the 2006 World Series. To date, Wainwright is the only player to close out a World Series in the 21st century as a rookie.
- April 6: The Cardinals promote Wainwright to the starting rotation after a strong rookie season. In his first MLB start, Wainwright enjoys seven innings of one-run ball with four strikeouts. He earns the victory in his first MLB start, the first as a starting battery with catcher Yadier Molina in a 15-year marathon to MLB’s all-time battery record.
- Aug. 10: Wainwright stretches out to nine innings for the first time in his MLB career for his first complete game with the Cardinals. He strikes out five, but St. Louis falls 2-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- Sept. 29: Wainwright finishes his first starting campaign on a high note. He holds the Pittsburgh Pirates to two runs over seven innings for his 14th win of the season, the most in Cardinals franchise-history for a first-year starter.
- March 2008: Wainwright signs a four-year, $21 million deal with the Cardinals with club options through 2013.
- Aug. 22, 2008: Wainwright returns from a finger strain that sidelined him for 2.5 months, the first major injury of his career. He ends up with his third win against the team that drafted him in the Atlanta Braves. The Cardinals enjoy an 18-3 blowout win behind six innings of one-run ball from Wainwright.
- April 6, 2009: Wainwright earns his first of six Opening Day starts with the Cardinals. He holds the Pirates to two runs over 5.1 innings, though the Cardinals fall 6-4.
- Aug. 30, 2009: Wainwright holds the Washington Nationals to one run over six innings. He picks up the victory for a career-best streak of 26 straight starts with six or more innings. Battery mate Yadier Molina catches in each of those starts to give the duo early momentum toward the all-time battery record.
- End Reg. Season 2009: Wainwright leads the National League with 19 wins, notches his first Gold Glove honor and finishes third place in the NL Cy Young voting, one spot behind close teammate Chris Carpenter.
- June 4, 2010: Wainwright cruises to a nine-inning, eight-strikeout, two-hit gem against the Brewers and gets the first shutout of his MLB career.
- July 2010: The National League names Wainwright an All-Star for the first-time in his MLB career. He entered the All-Stat break with 13 victories and a 2.11 ERA.
- Sept. 24, 2010: Wainwright stymies the division rival Chicago Cubs with a one-run, six-inning start for his career-best 20th victory of the season.
- March 2011: Wainwright undergoes Tommy John surgery and misses the entrie 2011 season. He remains in the dugout for many games while recovering and the Cardinals win their most-recent World Series. MLB still credits Wainwright for having a second ring, despite spending the season sidelined.
- April 7: Wainwright gets ahead of schedule in his recovery from Tommy John surgery and makes his first MLB start in 18 months. He came just one out short of a quality start, but suffers a hard-luck loss to the Brewers in his return.
- May 22: Wainwright returns to dominant form, going the distance for his first post-surgery shutout. Nine innings, nine strikeouts and only four hits allowed against the San Diego Padres.
- July 29: Wainwright reaches 1,000 career innings with the Cardinals, one of only 32 pitchers to reach that mark for a storied franchise.
- March: Wainwright signs a five-year, $97.5 million contract with the Cardinals just before the start of the new season. It remains the largest awarded to a pitcher in team history.
- May 11: Wainwright enjoys 7 1/3 no-hit innings, the longest hitless stretch to open a game in his career, before future teammate Nolan Arenado breaks up the bid. He finished the game with a two-hit shutout.
- June 13: Wainwright fans Mets franchise face David Wright for the 1,000th strikeout of his MLB career, a feat only reached by five others in Cardinals history.
- End Reg. Season 2013: Wainwright nearly accomplishes a rare feat, finishing with just one more walk (35) than start (34). Accompanied with a league-leading 19 wins and 2.94 ERA, Wainwright earns his second runner-up honor for NL Cy Young.
- Oct. 9: One of Wainwright’s most classic moment. Nine innings of one-run ball in a winner-take-all against the Pittsburgh Pirates to close out the National League Division Series. A swinging strikeout of Pedro Alvarez sends the Cardinals to the National League Championship Series for the third straight season.
- Oct. 23-28, 2013: Wainwright makes his first pair of World Series starts. His final one was a respectable outing of seven innings of three-run ball in Game 5. Run support was limited in his two starts and the Cardinals eventually drop the World Series to the Boston Red Sox.
- Off-the-field: Wainwright launches his Big League Impact foundation. The initiative raises millions of dollars for basic human needs, like food, clean water, medical care, shelter, and education, for people in need.
- May 20, 2014: Regarded as one of the finest starts of his career, Wainwright goes the distance for a one-hit shutout on 115 pitches. He struck out nine and only allowed one baserunner to reach. That would be future teammates Paul Goldschmidt on an early-game single.
- July 14, 2014: Wainwright gets his third All-Star nod and starts the Midsummer Classic for the first time in his career. He allowed a leadoff single to retiring New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter. Amid some controversy that he made it easy on Jeter, Wainwright allowed three early runs. He gets off the hook from the loss, despite the NL dropping the contest.
- April 25, 2015: Dominant through his first three starts of the season, Wainwright suffers a tough blow with an Achilles rupture that medical experts thought would keep him out the entire season. Wainwright remarkably returned in September in a bullpen role.
- 2016: One year off the big injury, it’s a relatively-down pitching season for Wainwright on the mound with a 13-9 record and a 4.62 ERA. However, he keeps delivering at the plate with 18 RBIs, the most for a pitcher in the MLB expansion era.
- 2017: A career-worst 5.11 ERA for Wainwright as the Cardinals miss playoffs a second-straight season. He does manage to win the Silver Slugger Award for NL pitchers with two home runs and 11 RBIs.
- 2018: Injuries limit Wainwright to just eight starts, including four total through the season’s first five months. His return in September is encouraging, stretching out to five innings in four starts. After four years of obstacles, and amid some speculation he might retire, Wainwright is pending a free agent for the first time at the season’s end.
- Oct. 2018: Wainwright agrees to reunion with Cardinals on a one-year, $2 million deal. It’s the first of four straight one-year contracts he signs up to the 2022 season.
- April 24. 2019: Wainwright enjoys six innings of one-run ball against the Brewers for his 150th career win.
- Sept. 2-18, 2019: Four consecutive starts of at least six innings pitched and no more than one run allowed for Wainwright. This stretch helps the veteran find a groove before the postseason, and the Cardinals return to the fold for the first time in four years.
- July 25, 2020: The pandemic-altered season leads Adam Wainwright to his first of 10 MLB starts in front of no fans. He goes six innings of one-run ball and five strikeouts for the win in the second game of the truncated season.
- Aug, 30, 2020: Wainwright turns back the clock on his 39th birthday. He powers through his first complete game in four seasons, striking out nine while containing the then-Cleveland Indians to two runs for the victory.
- Dec. 7, 2020: Wainwright wins the Roberto Clemente award for his charitable work through Big League Impact, an honor he consistently dubs as the best moment of his career.
- May 3: Wainwright punches out his 1,000th batter at Busch Stadium III, joining Bob Gibson as the only Cardinals pitchers with 1,000 at one specific home ballpark.
- Aug. 10: Wainwright gets his first unofficially-dubbed “Maddux” game. The veteran cruises to a complete-game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates on just 88 pitches, the fewest he’s needed to go the distance in his career.
- Sept. 3: Wainwright and Molina make their 300th career start as an MLB battery, becoming just the fourth duo to reach that feat and setting up a record-chasing campaign in 2022.
- Sept. 23: Wainwright fans Milwaukee’s Luis Urias for his 2,000th career strikeout, joining Bob Gibson as the only two Cardinals to reach such heights.
- April 7: Wainwright starts his sixth season opener, his first since 2016 and the most among Cardinals pitchers not named Bob Gibson. He kicks off the season with six shutout frames against the Pirates. The Cardinals open the season with a victory and Wainwright wins his 100th game at Busch Stadium III.
- May 15: Wainwright takes the mound for a primetime Sunday Night Baseball contest and delivers history this season in the first of two ways. A win against the Giants gave him 203 wins with Molina as his starting battery mate, helping the duo become the most-triumphant in MLB history.
- Sept. 14: A record that might never be broken. Wainwright and Molina make their 325th career start as a MLB battery, officially passing Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan of the Detroit Tigers for the top spot. Wainwright grinds through five innings of one-run ball to secure his 11th win of the season.
Part II of the St. Louis Cardinals Legends Timelines: Yadier Molina (Saturday, Oct. 1)
Part III of the St. Louis Cardinals Legends Timelines: Albert Pujols (Sunday, Oct. 2)