In many ways, the name Adam Wainwright has been synonymous with the Cardinals for the better part of the past two decades. From three All-Star appearances to a World Series championship, the towering right-hander has pieced together an accomplished career in St. Louis.
On Friday night, Wainwright got the opportunity to receive a fitting final send-off from the organization and its fan base.
Wainwright, who intends to retire at the end of the season, made what’s likely to be his final appearance in a game for the Cardinals when he came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning of his team’s 19–2 loss to the Reds. Earlier in the week, the 42-year-old admitted to wanting one last opportunity to take his cuts after revealing that he’d already pitched his final MLB game on Sept. 18.
Wainwright sent the home crowd to its feet when he emerged from the dugout and strode to the batter’s box. As the standing ovation grew louder and louder, Wainwright tipped his cap to the St. Louis faithful, making for one final emotional scene for the franchise legend.
Unfortunately, the storybook moment didn’t come full circle for Wainwright as he grounded out on the second pitch he saw. That didn’t matter to Cardinals fans, who continued to pour down their appreciation on the smiling 18-year veteran as he returned to the dugout.
With the Cardinals (69–91) already eliminated from playoff contention, the final two games of the year against the Reds likely will serve as a further celebration for Wainwright ahead of the franchise icon’s retirement.