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.
In the NLCS vs. the New York Mets, he pitched in three games earning two saves. Who can forget game Seven with two runners on and two out? The Cardinals were clinging to a 1 run lead. With an 0-2 count on the dangerous Carlos Beltran, Wainwright delivered his now-famous Uncle Charlie that literally "froze" Beltran in his tracks for the final out. Thus sending St Louis to the World Series vs. Detroit.
In the World Series, Wainwright pitched in three games earning a win in game 4 and a save in Game 5.
All in all - he pitched 9.2 innings, gave up 7 hits, 0 runs, struck out 15, and walked 2, getting 1 win and 5 saves.
2007 he became a starter going 14 and 12 while throwing 202 innings, and so it began. He had back-to-back years Twice of at least 19 wins in 2009 and 2010, then again in 2013 and 2014.
Five whole years of 200+ innings, and 3 of those years were 230+ innings.
He underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2011. He came back to win 14 games in 2012, pitching 198.2 innings with a 3.94 ERA in 32 starts. He had a 1.248 WHIP 184 Strikeouts vs. 52 walks.
2015 was cut short with a ruptured Achilles Tendon coming back in 2016 with a `13-9 record, and 198.2 Innings pitched. This was also the start of a rise in his ERA and a decline in his strikeouts vs. walks.
2018 he was placed on the DL three times. He came back in 2019 with a 14-10 record and a more respectable 4.19 ERA. Most notably was him pitching 171.2 innings.
Last year he was arguably our most effective pitcher appearing in 10 games, going 5-3 with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.051 WHIP, striking out 52 and only walking 15. He also recorded 2 complete games.
His grit and determination and the ability to come back when people think he won't are a testament to why he has captured the hearts of St Louis fans.
Adam Wainwright has won 2 Golden Gloves, is a 3-time ALL-Star, and won the Silver Slugger award in 2017.
As a Cardinal he is;
3rd in wins 167
5th in Strikeouts per 9 - 7.592
6th in IP 2169.1
2nd in total Strikeouts 1830
3rd in Strikeouts vs. walks 3.096
4th in games started 326
4th in WAR for pitchers 36.9
7th in games played 393.
He is the active leader In ALL of those categories except one - Ks per 9. The current active leader there is also the category leader, Carlos Martinez (8.851). (Bob Gibson is 9th 7.22).
He is always referred to as a good teammate and a positive influence in the Clubhouse. He has endeared himself in the hearts of MANY Cardinal fans and is well respected by players from other teams. I can think of very few more qualified to put on a Red Jacket as a Cardinal hall of Fame inductee than Adam Wainwright.
Thanks for reading.
* JockBio.com "Adam Wainwright Bio" 2006
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