I have been thinking a lot about Adam Wainwright lately — you know, as one does. At 42 years old and after 18 seasons and 19 years in the majors, he is calling it quits. Hanging up the cleats. Riding off into the sunset. He’s retiring, is what I am getting at. And he will do it with at least 200 wins.
It’s quite a remarkable accomplishment. In all of baseball history, there are only 122 pitchers that can claim that achievement. Even fewer if you look at recent seasons. Since Waino’s career began in 2005, only five other pitchers have amassed at least 200 wins: Justin Verlander (255), Zack Greinke (216), Max Scherzer (214), Clayton Kershaw (209), and Jon Lester (200). It is an impressive list. Some might say, a Hall of Fame list? Of those pitchers, only Kershaw has earned all his wins with one team.
Well, other than Waino.
That is one of the coolest things about Adam Wainwright — the fact that there was never a time when I thought he wouldn’t be a St. Louis Cardinal. He’s our guy. It is also the thing that is breaking my heart the most, because of course the day must come. No one plays forever. Not even Waino. That time is nearly here and there is no more denying it.
It is hard for me to confront the end of things, though I must admit I am in a specifically sentimentally place right now in that regard due to circumstances going on in my life. Perhaps that is why thinking about a Cardinals team without Adam Wainwright has me feeling some type of way. Things in my life just keep reminding me that they can’t last forever. They shouldn’t last forever. And they don’t always get the ending they deserve.
I wish the Cardinals had been able to give Adam Wainwright the final season he deserved. It is a regret I might always carry for him — sort of like how one of Bob Gibson’s last pitches in the majors gave up a grand slam to Pete LaCock. Pitchers that have pitched in the majors for nearly two decades don’t always get the big moment to end their careers. That is just life, isn’t it? Things don’t always go how you hoped, but it was you do next that matters most. Gibson gave up that grand slam on one of his final pitches, but coaxed a groundout to end the inning. The Cardinals are in a stinker of season, but Adam Wainwright got to 200 wins. These pitchers also don’t get to nearly two decades in the majors without big moments, either.
It has been one heckuva career for Waino. There have been ups and downs, for sure, but I think mostly ups. He has been a source of joy for me for many years now — a lot of my childhood and all of my adulthood. I turned thirty this past year and it feels like a transitional point in my life. I don’t have the time or really the desire to watch baseball like I once did. My childhood baseball heroes are nearly all out of the game. All but one. No matter what, I always turn the game on for Adam Wainwright. He’s our guy.
I’m sure gonna miss watching him pitch.