Summer 2024

Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright becomes adoptive father, gets 150 wins and a statue

Times are good right now for veteran St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright. On Wednesday, the 37-year-old in his 15th season with the Cardinals notched his 150th career win. He held the Brewers to one run over six innings to become the fifth pitcher in franchise history to reach the 150-win mark.

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“I’m glad to get there,” Wainwright said afterward. “It means something to me. I’m proud to have been a Cardinal for the whole time of it, too. I’ve won most of those with my brother (catcher) Yadier Molina and in front of these great fans in St. Louis.”

“You look at the Mt. Rushmore of the pitchers in this organization, which is pretty impressive. He’s carving out a spot,” manager Mike Shildt said. “Today was indicative of how he’s done it [throughout his career]. There was pitchability to it. There was grit to it. And there was adjustments to it. He’s just a winning guy, a winning player.”

The following morning, Wainwright received even better news. He and his wife, Jenny, had been caring for a newborn baby boy for two months, but on Thursday they received official word that he was theirs. They had been approved to be the child’s adoptive parents, and named him Caleb Adam Wainwright.

“Even though he’s been (with us) for over two months already, it became real to me that a guy with four daughters – I’ve got a little boy now to call my own. It’s so special. I smooched him all over,” Wainwright told the St. Louis Post-Distpatch.

The Wainwrights have daughters Baylie, Morgan, Macy and Sadee Faith, but last year felt called to adopt.

“What’s been great about it is we’ve had to just put complete faith and trust in God, in knowing that this is right,” Wainwright told the St. Louis Post-Distpatch. “This is something that we felt like we were supposed to do, and we wanted to do. We wanted another child. What we really wanted to do was we wanted to step into that story of adoption. We’ve got the room. We’ve got the love.”

Caleb’s name came to Wainwright as he walked through the Bible with a men’s group. In Exodus, two names stood out to him: Caleb and Joshua. Those would have been the names if they had twin boys, but the name “Caleb” was chosen because he’s described in the Bible as “a different spirit.”

“As soon as I read that I was like, ‘Oh man, that is just so strong,’” Wainwright told the St. Louis Post-Distpatch. “He’s just different. He’s got a ‘different spirit.’ That just spoke to me.”

When Caleb grows up, if he ever visits the city of Nanjing, China, he’ll see a statue of his father. Over the weekend, a delegation from Nanjing visited St. Louis to view the work of artist Harry Weber, who was commissioned to sculpt two statues as part of the 40th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between St. Louis and Nanjing. A 900-pound statue of Wainwright will be installed outside the Youth Olympic Stadium in Nanjing, and the sculpture of a Nanjing batter will stay in St. Louis.

“The Wainwright follow-through is beautiful,” Weber told the Riverfront Times. “It’s like a ballet step. At this point in his pitch the ball would be about halfway to the plate. The Nanjing hitter is in his stance, cocked and ready. They will be separated by over 7,000 miles but it’s as if they are just 60 feet apart.”

The real-life Wainwright returns to the mound Tuesday to face the Nationals in Washington D.C. He’s 2-2 through five starts this season, with 25.0 innings pitched, 22 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.96, the lowest among the Cardinals’ starting rotation. Wainwright is pitching on a one-year contract in what many expect to be his last season.

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