ST. LOUIS – It was just days ago that the 2023 St. Louis Cardinals would achieve the most unexceptional of feats: a guaranteed losing season, their first since 2007. That 2007 campaign would be starting pitcher Adam Wainwright‘s sophomore season with the Redbirds, and a season quickly swept under the rug when championships a year before and four years after would extinguish any doubt of more somber seasons to come of the elite right-hander.
While this is the first of said seasons of late, one fact still rings true; a radiant, silver lining for a storied franchise to live on: Waino still has some magic left.
The magic was on full display the night of September 18 (18 years and one week since Uncle Charlie’s debut), when an already irrelevant Cardinals squad got the 42-year-old right-hander a 4-hit, scoreless 7 innings and a 1-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers for no. 200, all in a Cardinals uniform.
Wainwright, whose 2023 stats include a paltry four wins with a 7.95 ERA, knew that fourth win was the only important stat of the evening: he joins an elite list of just 121 other pitchers with 200+ wins, and the 38th in the National League’s history.
Who’s on that list? Of course, you have other active, aging greats like Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer or Clayton Kershaw. You have Cy Young, who’s so stratospherically better than any other pitcher with 511 wins we literally give an award for pitcher of the year with his name on it. But two special names on there are what really stand out: Bob Gibson and Jesse Haines, the only other Cardinals pitchers with 200 wins or more.
Wainwright’s final year in the Bigs will definitely have its blemishes, but hitting that rare no. 200 for Uncle Charlie, in Busch Stadium, in a Redbird uniform, will likely taste as sweet as the first.
Wainwright’s battery mate Wilson Contreras would deliver the only run of the game with a line-drive homer sneaking its way into the left field corner, while John King and Ryan Helsley would bring the game to a close in the 8th and 9th. The Cardinals take game one of the four-game stint with Milwaukee, with first pitch of tomorrow’s game coming at 6:45 CT. Drew Rom will have the mound for the Cards.