Since the St. Louis Cardinals, as a whole, are likely to break your heart every other day of the week, let’s talk about a guy named Adam.
Back on Sept. 11, 2005, he made his Cardinal debut out of the bullpen. By the last pitch (literally) of 2006, he was closing World Series games and making Redbird killer Carlos Beltran’s knees buckle. It wasn’t until… well, the next season where he would make a dent as a starting pitcher, pitching 202 innings and putting up a respectable 3.70 earned-run-average. You know the rest. He would quickly become a fan and media favorite, something that’s more rare than you think. Eventually, another guy named Yadier Molina would become his baseball brother, a career battery mate.
Adam Wainwright turned 40 today, even if his arm still won’t cash that check. Let’s talk about 40 reasons, or 50, why he is simply awesome.
40) I mean, come on.
39) He raises money by throwing killer fantasy football tournaments where celebrities and fans alike can play.
38) The man helped bust Matt Carpenter out of a terrible streak by building him a tomato garden. Carp went ballistic, Cardinal Nation got some good salsa, and the team made a late season surge.
37) He’s the biggest cheerleader in the dugout. The man could have been dragged across four innings of torrential home-run soft serve the night before, but he’s smiling wide and cracking jokes the next night. The man forgot about a bad night faster than the best closer.
36) Wainwright calls young pitchers, “young bucks,” and you suddenly demand a De Witt streaming channel spin-off called “The Waino Bucks.” That was awful. Let me do better.
35) He loves Pappy’s. That’s just smart BBQ instincts right there.
34) He doesn’t read texts when he gets in the booth.
33) The bulldog stares from the mound that has pulled 1,985 strikeouts from opposing hitters’ souls.
32) While other players make an offseason drama show with their contract talks, Wainwright comes back for a sum that’s far less than his worth. It’s not about the name on the back, only the one on the front. Waino lives and breathes that mentality.
31) He’s a two-time Gold Glove award winner. Thank you for being able to field your position and not throw a wicked screwdriver over at first base like an Edward Scissorhands/Steve Sax hybrid.
30) Once upon a time…
29) He ages like Paul Rudd.
28) Without showing up the other opponent, Wainwright can pump a fist and scream like few others.
27) Name a player who you’ve seen play… who looks better in that uniform?
26) All. That. Charity. Work.
25) One day, he will make the perfect broadcast partner for Dan McLaughlin.
24) He’s hit ten career home runs. Ten.
23) Wainwright takes solid at-bats every time. He could be a DH on this current team.
22) Mentoring. Talking. Patience. Think of all the pitchers Wainwright has helped throughout his career just by sitting there and being a sounding board.
21) 22 career walks for Wainwright at the plate.
20) A lifetime 2.89 ERA in 109 playoff innings. He’s money in October, if only the team could get there.
19) He can grow a strong beard, better than most hockey players.
18) Wainwright always shows up and supports the St. Louis Blues.
17) He was the only answer for the team against Washington in the 2019 NLCS, striking out 11 in just nine innings.
16) The man’s natural Southern accent could be added to the Calm App. Imagine his voice, “just lie down, young buck, give the pillow a couple jabs, and slip into a coma-like descent into smoked rib paradise.” Whoa, power nap.
15) Have you ever heard about Wainwright in the news, for non-baseball reasons? The answer is nope.
14) The 2009 season.
13) Never being rude to the media, even after a bad loss. He’s a pro.
12) The 2013 season. He ranked second in the Cy Young award voting, 20th in MVP voting, and won the Gold Glove.
11) 2,339. Career innings.
10) He’s always represented St. Louis so, so well.
9) He’s the best interview at the Winter Warm-up.
8) Wainwright averages 2.4 walks per 9 innings. That’s it.
7) Who dances better in that dugout?
6) 12 to 6. Still.
5) He’d be a great President… on a television show.
4) He won a Silver Slugger award in 2017.
3) Wainwright has thrown three complete games-or as many as the total of his previous six seasons.
2) He’s a future Red Coat waiting to happen.
1) A 2.89 ERA this year during a very disappointing season. Thanks for that, Waino.
Happy 40th birthday, Uncle Charlie.