ST. LOUIS – The end of an era has almost arrived. Adam Wainwright will officially retire after the St. Louis Cardinals’ final homestand of the 2023 season this weekend.
Wainwright wrapped up his MLB pitching career with his 200th career win in his final start. He will not pitch in an upcoming three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds, but there’s hope he might take one more at-bat in a low-leverage situation.
The Cardinals also plan to honor Uncle Charlie with a series of activities and events over the next three days. Fans can sign a giant card to thank Wainwright for his career ahead of Friday’s game, Wainwright will perform a postgame concert on Saturday and the Cardinals will honor him with a pregame ceremony on Sunday.
With a big weekend planned ahead, it’s fitting to remember Wainwright’s journey and many moments that helped him become one of the most prolific pitchers in Cardinals history.
FOX 2 looks back on Adam Wainwright’s accomplishments and the Top 10 individual baseball moments of his illustrious career.
Stats & Accolades
- 18 MLB seasons played (2005-2010 and 2012-2023)
- 478 games/411 games started
- 2,668.1 innings pitched
- 200-128 record (.610 winning percentage)
- 3.53 ERA (earned run average)
- 1.24 WHIP (walks-hits per innings pitched)
- 2,202 strikeouts
- 28 complete games
- 11 shutouts
- 143 hits/742 at-bats (.193 batting average)
- 10 home runs
- 75 RBI
- 55 runs scored
- 2006 World Series Champion
- Three-time All-Star (2010, 2013, 2014)
- Two-time Gold Glove Award winner (2009, 2013)
- 2017 Silver Slugger Award
- 2020 Roberto Clemente Award (honoring sportsmanship)
- Launched the Big League Impact charity (2013)
First, let’s reflect on some honorable mentions that FOX 2 deemed as almost Top-10 worthy baseball moments:
- April 6, 2007: Wainwright tosses seven innings and wins his first MLB start against the Houston Astros.
- June 4, 2010: Wainwright earns a shutout win for the first time in his career, holding the Milwaukee Brewers to two hits.
- May 11, 2013: Wainwright flirts with Cardinals history and starts the game with 7.1 no-hit innings in a win over the Colorado Rockies.
- Oct. 28, 2013: Wainwright goes seven innings in his second and final World Series start, ending with a Game 5 loss to the Boston Red Sox, but keeping the Cardinals within striking distance.
- July 14, 2014: Wainwright starts the MLB All-Star game for the first and only time of his career.
- Oct. 6, 2019: Wainwright cruises through 7.2 scoreless innings in an NLDS start against the Atlanta Braves, and was in position for a win until some late bullpen misfortunes.
Many of those moments alone would rival the top moments for an average MLB pitcher, but to miss the Top 10 shows just how wonderful of a career Wainwright has given to the Cardinals and Major League Baseball.
Top 10 Moments
There’s certainly room for debate as to Adam Wainwright’s best individual baseball moments of his career. He might tell you differently, and there are certainly different perspectives within Cardinal Nation.
After thorough research and thought, FOX 2 deemed these the Top-10 baseball moments in Adam Wainwright’s career.
10) May 22, 2012 – First CG after TJ
Wainwright fires his first complete game shutout just over a year removed from Tommy John surgery. Nine innings, nine strikeouts and just four hits allowed in a 4-0 home victory over the San Diego Padres.
9) Aug. 11, 2021 – A “Maddux game”
Wainwright enjoys a “Maddux game,” an unofficial baseball term in honor of Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. He often completed nine-inning starts on less than 100 pitches. Against the Pittsburgh Pirates on the road, Wainwright did just that. He covers nine shutout innings on just 88 pitches, by far the fewest he’s needed to go the distance in his career. The Cardinals win 4-0, and Wainwright allows just two hits without allowing a free pass.
8) Aug. 30, 2020 – Big birthday winner
On his 39th birthday, Wainwright turns back the clock for a pandemic-shortened season complete game. He powers through his first complete game in four seasons, striking out nine while containing the then-Cleveland Indians to two runs for a 7-2 victory.
7) May 24, 2006 – Homer-happy history
Wainwright gets a rare hitting opportunity as a rookie season as a relief pitcher and makes the most of it. He takes San Francisco’s Noah Lowry deep for a home run on the first pitch of his first MLB at-bat. To date, Wainwright is one of 22 players (and seven pitchers) to go yard on the first pitch of his first at-bat. The Cardinals won 10-4 over the Giants.
6) May 20, 2014 – Best game ever?
Many baseball enthusiasts consider this the best regular-season start of Wainwright’s career, and it ended with a game score of 94. For perspective, 50 is an average game score and 100s usually only happen on perfect games. At home against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Wainwright goes the distance for a one-hit shutout on 115 pitches. He struck out nine and only allowed one baserunner to reach (future teammate Paul Goldschmidt) in a 5-0 win.
5) Oct. 9, 2013 – A clincher from start to finish
Wainwright shines in a winner-take-all NLDS Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He fires nine innings of one-run ball and strikes out six, finishing the effort with a swinging strike of Pedro Alvarez and a celebration on point with another soon-to-be mentioned Top 10 moment. With a 6-1 victory, the Cardinals advance to the NLCS for a third straight year, paving the way to their most recent trip to the World Series.
4) Oct. 27, 2006 – Final out of the 2006 World Series
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 his signature curveball to secure the 2006 World Series. To date, Wainwright remains the only player to close out a World Series in the 21st century as a rookie. The Cardinals won the game 4-2.
3) Sept. 18, 2023 – 200th career victory
Wainwright empties the tank for his 200th win of his career in what eventually represents the final game of his MLB career. His quest for a major MLB milestone came with some uncertainties amid injuries and a nearly three-month stretch without a win. He earned win No. 199 just six nights before in Baltimore and was motivated to get 200 at home. Wainwright goes seven strong and allows just four hits, and the bullpen helps preserve a narrow lead for a 1-0 victory. Wainwright calls the game and celebration afterwards a “Top 3” moment of his MLB career. We will too.
2) Sept. 14, 2022 – All-time battery kings
Wainwright teams up to a record that might never be broken. Wainwright and longtime backstop Yadier 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 a 4-1 victory, also coming against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Wainwright-Molina duo shatters a decades-long record and finished with 328 combined starts together.
1) Oct. 19, 2006 – The Most Iconic Moment
Wainwright faces the toughest test of his rookie season and offers an early glimpse to his exciting future with the Cardinals. He gets tasked with closing out the ninth inning in a win-or-go-home Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. 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, stuns the Mets in Queens and sends the Cardinals to the World Series. This is, without a doubt, the most thrilling moment of Wainwright’s career.