Adam Wainwright; Your Red Jacket is waiting

Over the decades, there have been many great Cardinal pitchers;

Grover Cleveland Alexander, Jessie Haines, Harry Brecheen, Dizzy Dean, Mort Cooper, Chris Carpenter, Bob Forsch, Steve Carlton, and of course, the Great Bob Gibson. To name a few.

Some have been enshrined in Cooperstown, Like Alexander, Dean, Carlton, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, and Gibby.

Some have been given the honor of the Red Jacket Club. The St Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame. There are ten pitchers on the Cardinal Hall of Fame list.

Dizzy Dean, Bob Gibson, Jesse Haines and Bruce Sutter (2014), Bob Forsch (2015), Chris Carpenter (2016), Harry Brecheen (2018), Mort Cooper, Jason Isringhausen (2019), John Tudor (2020).

One more could be added this year as Steve Carlton, Lee Smith, and Matt Morris are on the 2021 ballot.

A name to soon be considered for that list will be Adam Wainwright. Waino, or Uncle Charlie as he is referred to sometimes, has become one of the most beloved Cardinals in the history of the organization. That is something that is not given lightly. It is earned by dedication to the organization, solid performance, and a relationship with the fans.

Adam Parish Wainwright was born in Brunswick, Georgia, on August 31, 1981. He has one brother Trey, who is seven years older. Adam's parents divorced when he was 7. So his brother became his mentor, coach, and pseudo father. Adam wanted to be a pitcher, so he with help from "baseball dads in the neighborhood. Trey built Adam a pitching mound in his backyard to practice on. He became Adam's first pitching coach working on his mechanics and pitches. As a youth, Adam dreamed of playing for the Atlanta Braves and winning a World Series. In high school, not only was he learning how to pitch and getting bigger and stronger. He was making a name for himself as a football player as well. He was named All-State as a receiver in his junior and senior years. He was also the All-Region placekicker after being named Gatorade's player of the year for Georgia. He was offered a full-ride scholarship to Georgia Tech to play baseball. He accepted on the proviso that IF he got the Braves' offer, he would go pro. Well, the Braves drafted him the 29th pick of the 1st round in the June 2000 Draft. A year between the rookie league and class A, he rose reasonably fast, making AA in 2003. He attempted the US Olympic team in 2003, but due to a bad fall league, manager *Dave Stewart cut him. The 1989 World Series MVP told Adam that he had the ability to be a great pitcher but needed to believe that himself before he could achieve his potential.

The trade to St Louis

During the 2003 offseason, while trying to propose to his girlfriend, his mother kept blowing up his phone with the news he had been traded. The Braves and Cardinals crafted a deal that sent Wainwright, Ray King, and Jason Marquis for JD Drew and Eli Marrero. It would turn out to be a great deal for St Louis and not so great for Atlanta. Drew would only play one year for the Braves before leaving as a Free Agent, and Marrero would be traded to Kansas City. Wainwright would stay for as of now 16 years. Marquis and Ray King also pitched multiple years for the Redbirds, but Wainwright stuck around.

Welcome to St Louis

Wainwright went to Memphis in 2004. He was 4-4 in 12 starts with a 5.37 ERA striking out 64 and walking 28 until sidelined by an elbow injury. He recovered in time to pitch 4 games in the Arizona fall league.

2005 at Memphis, going 10-10 in 29 starts for the Redbirds, with a league-high 182 innings pitched and 147 strikeouts,

After a call up in 2005, he made the roster the following year. Pitching 61 games in relief, going 2-1 with 3 saves with 72 Ks and 22 BBs. He sported a 3.12 ERA and a 1.147 WHIP. He was instrumental down the stretch when Closer Jason Isringhausen went down with an injury. Tony LaRussa turned to Adam to pick up the slack.

In the NLDS vs. San Diego, Wainwright pitched in three games earning a save in game two and not allowing a run.