Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright returns for 15th season, signs 1-year contract

Aside from a few short rehab stints in the minors and a season missed due to injury, 2005 was the last time St. Louis Cardinals fans watched their team play and Adam Wainwright wasn’t on the roster. They won’t have to adjust to Waino’s absence quite yet.

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On Tuesday, the Cardinals announced they had re-signed Wainwright to a one-year deal for 2020, which will mark his 15th season (not including the year he sat out).

“We’re obviously excited we could reunite again, ” team president John Mozeliak said at the annual general managers meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz. “You think about his history and what he’s meant to the Cardinals.”

The 38-year-old has spent his entire MLB career with St. Louis. He was drafted 29th overall by the Atlanta Braves in 2000 and was traded to the Cardinals in 2003. Wainwright got his first taste of big-league baseball when he made his MLB debut on Sept. 11, 2005. He was a two-time National League wins leader in 2009 and 2013 and was named to the All-Star team in 2010, 2013 and 2014.

Wainwright has also seen the Cardinals franchise enjoy success during his years in St. Louis. He was on the mound as the Cardinals recorded their final out to win the 2006 World Series over the Detroit Tigers. Wainwright was also awarded a World Series ring in 2011, although he didn’t pitch that season due to Tommy John surgery.

Throughout Wainwright’s tenure as a Cardinal, he has established himself as a crowd favorite and a leader in the clubhouse. Aside from the extensive pitching knowledge he’s acquired from almost two decades as a professional, Wainwright is also a follower of Christ and has mentored many younger believers on his teams.

“We are looked up to as leaders, and naturally we have an ‘in’ with the younger players simply because we have the knowledge and experience that they want to learn from,” Wainwright told Sports Spectrum last year. “When we can also speak into their lives on deeper matters — on things besides baseball — it provides a huge opportunity for us to share Christ’s love with those who are eager to hear what we have to say.”

Once upon a time, Wainwright was one of those younger players wrestling with doubts.

“In 2002, I decided to go to a conference in Dallas, Texas,” Wainwright said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in 2017. “‘I really don’t want to be here, but I’m going to listen and we’ll see what happens.’ I just know that God had me there for a reason and I was meant to be there. Everything in my life led to that conference. During the night sermon, the pastor was preaching on the relationship that was meant to be with Jesus. And for whatever reason, God finally opened my ears and I bought in on the spot. As I was listening to him talk, it sunk in and it punched me right in the face and it punched me so hard that I had to look around and make sure that I wasn’t talking to Jesus himself.”

Wainwright has since done what he can to show his care for others. He has honored victims of tragedy, raised money to uplift communities and even adopted a son, named Caleb.

“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-Dispatch about the adoption. “This is something that we felt like we were supposed to do, and we wanted to do.”

For him, all of it stems from the love Christ first showed him.

Wainwright further details his story of faith in a video produced by Sports Spectrum and The Increase: 

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