Fall 2022

Adam Wainwright sets MLB record with Yadier Molina as he continues to share Christ’s love

Wednesday night’s start was No. 387 for Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright in his 17-year MLB career. But for the 325th time, catcher Yadier Molina was behind the plate. No pitcher-catcher duo has ever started so many games together.

The battery eclipsed the regular-season mark of 324 by Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan of the Detroit Tigers from 1963-1975.

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“It’s probably cooler for me than Yadi,” Wainwright said after he also picked up the win over the Milwaukee Brewers. “He has so many cool things. Next to the Roberto Clemente award, this is probably the coolest thing of my career.”

Added Molina: “Such a great feeling, just to reach that number. To be at the top of that list. Such a great feeling.”

It also marked their 213th win together, also an MLB record. That brings Wainwright’s season record to 11-9, and the Cardinals’ record to 84-59. They hold an eight-game lead in their division and are trying to chase down the 89-55 New York Mets for the No. 2 spot in the NL playoffs.

“It was a lot to manage, early on,” Wainwright said about Wednesday’s start. “The crowd was so awesome, making me get constant chills and tearing up. Was trying to manage my adrenaline because it wanted to go through the roof.”

Wainwright and Molina made their first start together on April 6, 2007, in Houston. According to ESPN, Wainwright has thrown 2,136 of his 2,548 innings (83.8 percent) to Molina, and they have teamed up to record 1,812 strikeouts.

“A lot has taken place in that time span, and that’s why I think this record is pretty darn cool,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “I don’t see anyone coming close to ever reaching it again.”

This is expected to be the final season for Molina, 40, but Wainwright, who turned 41 on Aug. 30, has yet to make an announcement on his future. Last September, he released a video with his family saying he’d be back for another year. Soon thereafter, he signed a one-year, $17.5 million contract after one of the best years of his career — 17 wins (second in MLB), a .708 winning percentage (second-best of his career), 206.1 innings pitched (third in MLB), and a 3.05 ERA (his best since 2013).

In 2022, Wainwright is still showing he’s one of the best pitchers in the game. He’s tied for the MLB lead in games started (29), he’s sixth in innings pitched (178.0), and his 3.29 ERA is tops among Cardinals pitchers with 20 or more starts.

So if his wife, Jenny, and their five kids OK it once again, Wainwright could be back for yet another season in 2023. There’s no doubt his family will play a large role in making that decision.

“I want to make sure that I’m not being just self-absorbed in that decision,” Wainwright told Sports Spectrum Magazine for a Spring 2022 feature. “Our family is really important to me, our family dynamic. I grew up without a father at home and I don’t want to be the guy who’s never at home. I don’t want to be the guy that misses everything for all my kids growing up. … I love what I do. I really enjoy what I’m doing, but I’m getting to a point now where I’m ready to cheer them on, rather than them always cheer me on.”

He’ll also turn to prayer. He’s been walking with the Lord since he gave his life to Christ at a Pro Athletes Outreach conference in 2002. Twenty years later, he’s still attending the annual conferences and regularly brings teammates with him. In the fall of 2018, Wainwright thought his career might be done after he struggled through an injury-riddled season. But he wanted to keep playing largely because he wanted to continue to pour into the faith journeys of younger teammates.

“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. “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.”

He’s also helped fans and social media followers in their relationships with God. In 2020, Wainwright led 22,000 people through the Bible in a year, then continued in 2021. It was a big time commitment, but well worth using the platform he’d established as a MLB pitcher to spread God’s Word.

“The first week of that, I remember saying, ‘I did not know what I was getting myself into,'” Wainwright told Sports Spectrum. “I said, ‘Jenny, you’re going to have to help me through this because I feel like this might be the most important thing I’ve ever done.'”

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