Adam Wainwright’s Long Road to 200 Wins
Adam Wainwright, the veteran pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, has finally reached the historic milestone of 200 wins in his 18th season in the major leagues. His journey to this achievement has been anything but straightforward, with a season full of disappointments for the Cardinals and personal struggles for Wainwright. Despite his struggles, Wainwright’s quest for his 200th win became a saving grace for both him and the team. The Cardinals gave him every chance to reach this milestone, and he finally delivered with a vintage performance, shutting down the Brewers in a tight 1-0 victory.
The Rarity of 200 Wins in Today’s Game
Getting to 200 wins in today’s game of baseball is no small feat, especially for young pitchers. With the current trends of using specialized bullpen arms and limiting the workload of starters, reaching this milestone seems like a long shot. Among the active pitchers who might have a chance are Gerrit Cole and Madison Bumgarner. Cole, at 32 years old, has 143 wins, while Bumgarner, 33 years old, has 134 wins. However, even for these talented pitchers, getting to 200 wins is not guaranteed.
The Value of Wainwright’s Accomplishment
Adam Wainwright’s achievement of reaching 200 wins is even more impressive considering he did it all with one franchise, the St. Louis Cardinals. In an era where player loyalty and longevity with one team are becoming increasingly rare, Wainwright’s accomplishment stands out. It speaks to his dedication, commitment, and skill as a pitcher.
Reflecting on Wainwright’s Memorable Career Performances
As Adam Wainwright prepares to hang up his cleats, let’s take a moment to look back at some of his most memorable career performances. Throughout his 18 seasons, Wainwright has had a remarkable career, with four top-3 Cy Young finishes, three All-Star selections, a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, and a memorable World Series championship. His consistency and success on the mound are worth celebrating.
Honorable Mention: Freezing Carlos Beltrán
One of the highlights of Wainwright’s career happened in the playoffs during his first season as a full-time member of the Cardinals in 2006. In a dramatic Game 7 between the Cardinals and the Mets, Wainwright, then the closer for the Cardinals, struck out Carlos Beltrán on three pitches, ending the Mets’ chances of a comeback and sending the Cardinals to the World Series. This moment showcased Wainwright’s composure and ability to perform under pressure.
#5: June 4, 2010
In 2010, Wainwright had one of the best seasons of his career, finishing with 20 wins, a 2.42 ERA, and his first All-Star selection. One standout performance came on June 4, 2010, when Wainwright pitched a shutout against the Milwaukee Brewers. He dominated the Brewers’ offense, allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out eight. This game was a testament to Wainwright’s ability to control the game and be a workhorse pitcher.
#4: May 20, 2014
Throughout his career, Wainwright never pitched a no-hitter, but he came close on May 20, 2014, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Wainwright allowed only one hit—a double to Paul Goldschmidt—in a game where he retired the final 16 batters in order. This performance showcased Wainwright’s consistency and his ability to come close to historic achievements.
#3: April 13, 2013
Win #200 for Wainwright came against the Brewers, a team he often dominated throughout his career. In this particular game, Wainwright delivered a shutout with 12 strikeouts, tying his career-high. He also contributed offensively with three hits, two RBIs, and a run. This game highlights Wainwright’s ability to dominate on the mound while making an impact at the plate, showcasing his versatility as a pitcher.
#2: October 9, 2013 (NLDS Game 5)
While Wainwright’s success as a playoff starter has been limited, one of his most memorable postseason performances came in the 2013 NLDS against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In a decisive Game 5, Wainwright went head-to-head against Gerrit Cole and delivered a stellar performance. Despite allowing multiple hits and facing constant threats on the bases, Wainwright gave up only one run, earning his first and only career playoff complete game. This game showcased his ability to rise to the occasion in high-pressure situations.
#1: August 11, 2021
One of the most recent highlights of Wainwright’s career came in the 2021 season. Despite doubts surrounding his ability to perform at a high level, the veteran pitcher delivered a remarkable season. His standout performance came on August 11, 2021, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wainwright faced only one batter over the minimum, allowing only two hits in a complete-game shutout. This throwback performance demonstrated Wainwright’s mastery of his craft and served as a reminder of his greatness.
Adam Wainwright’s journey to 200 wins is a testament to his skill, resilience, and loyalty to the St. Louis Cardinals. In an era where reaching this milestone is increasingly rare, Wainwright has achieved something truly special. As he prepares to hang up his cleats, it’s worth celebrating his memorable performances and reflecting on the impact he has had on the game of baseball. While there will be time to debate his case for the Hall of Fame, for now, let us take a moment to appreciate the legacy that Adam Wainwright leaves behind.
<< photo by Alexandro David >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.
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