Celebrating Adam Wainwright’s 200th Win

Waino becomes the 122nd pitcher with 200 wins in MLB history

Adam Wainwright began his 18th season in the major leagues with 195 wins, playing for a Cardinals team that looked like a contender. He had announced that 2023 would be his final season, making his inevitable 200th career win almost a coronation for a memorable career.

The baseball gods decided to make things interesting, as Wainwright needed all of 21 starts to finally reach the milestone.

As the Cardinals turned into one of the biggest disappointments of the season, the 42-year-old’s quest became the only saving grace, as evidenced by a crowd of 30,000+ turning into Busch Stadium to witness the last hurrah of Adam Wainwright.

Despite an ERA that has flirted with 8 for large parts of the season, a WHIP of almost 2, and a hard-to-believe -2.4 fWAR, the Cardinals gave the righty every chance to get to #200, and last night he finally delivered with a vintage performance, shutting down the Brewers in a tight 1-0 victory.

With the Forever Cardinal getting to 200 wins, he becomes the 122nd member of the 200-win club, with the extra value of having done it all with one franchise.

With the current usage of starters and everything trending towards specialization, even getting to 200 wins seems like a long shot for young pitchers. The only active hurlers that appear to have a chance are Gerrit Cole (143 wins at 32 years old) and maybe Madison Bumgarner (134, 33 years old) if he finds some sort of late-career renaissance.

With Wainwright reaching this historic milestone, it is a great moment to look back at some of his most memorable career performances. With four top-3 Cy Young finishes, 3 All-Star selections, a gold glove and a silver slugger, a memorable World Series championship, and a very consistent career, there is plenty to remember as he prepares to hang up his cleats.

While there will be time to discuss his case for the Hall of Fame, for now, it is best to simply drive through memory lane.


Honorable mention – Freezing Carlos Beltrán


One of the most amazing feats of reaching 200 wins for Adam Wainwright is that he actually started his career as a reliever. After a very brief 2-inning stint in 2005, he became a full-time member of the Cardinals in 2006, appearing in 61 games in relief.

By the end of the season, St. Louis had made him the closer, and he made his mark by delivering a memorable postseason. In one of the most dramatic and underrated playoff series of the 21st century, the Mets and Cardinals delivered a classic game 7. As St. Louis broke the 1-1 tie in the ninth, the Mets battled back and loaded the bases with two outs, setting up the scenario for one of the best playoff hitters of all time.

The 24-year-old Wainwright stared at Beltran and struck him out on three pitches, with the last one being a perfect curveball that froze the batter and Shea Stadium. A few days later, he would be on the mound for the final out as the Cardinals beat the Tigers in 5 games. This was the only championship for Wainwright, as he was injured for all of 2011 when St. Louis won it all again.


#5 – June 4, 2010


2010 is arguably the greatest season of Wainwright’s career, as he finished with 20 wins, a 2.42 ERA, his first All-Star nod, a second-place finish in Cy Young voting, and even a few down-ballot MVP nods. The right-hander would start the year with 15 consecutive starts of at least six innings pitched, becoming the premier workhorse alongside Chris Carpenter.

While he had already pitched 4 complete games in his young career, this one became his first shutout, dominating a Brewers offense that featured the likes of Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Jim Edmonds. Wainwright was in complete control on that day, allowing only two hits and a walk, with eight strikeouts and plenty of run support.

After ceding a lead-off walk to Fielder in the fourth inning, the righty retired the final 18 Brewers in order, finishing the contest with a poetic strikeout to Fielder himself. The 103-pitch effort was one of 23 starts during the season in which Wainwright reached triple digits. In many ways, he will finish his career as one of the last old-school, throwback pitchers of his generation.


#4 – May 20, 2014 


Unless something magical happens over the final two weeks of the season, Adam Wainwright will finish his career without pitching a no-hitter, joining the likes of Greg Maddux, Steve Carlton, and Roger Clemens among memorable hurlers with zero no-nos. While Waino never was a pure power pitcher who could rack up strikeouts, he usually had strong defenses behind him that could make a no-hitter possible.

The closest he came to making that kind of history came on May 20, 2014, when the Arizona Diamondbacks arrived at Busch Stadium. While Arizona was a team in flux and featured a mostly weak offense, Wainwright was again in full force following the injury that cost him all of 2011. By the end of 2014, he would post three straight seasons of at least 32 starts and 198 innings, in what would become his final All-Star campaign.

On this particular afternoon, Wainwright took full advantage of the early run support provided by a Matt Adams home run. He retired the first 11 hitters before surrendering a double to future teammate Paul Goldschmidt.

The extra-base knock would be the only hit of the game for Arizona, as the final 16 Dbacks would be retired in order. Wainwright finished the game with 9 strikeouts, as this contest is tied for his highest game score, according to Fangraphs.


#3 – April 13, 2013


Win #200 for Adam Wainwright came against the Brewers, just as his first career shutout and this game, which is tied for his career-high in strikeouts, with 12. While the righty made it a habit to dominate Milwaukee, his 22 career wins against the Brewers are second to his 23 victories against the Pirates.

In this particular game, the Brewers were off to a rough 2-8 start and had lost some of their key offensive pieces from previous seasons. The Brewers would even give 409 plate appearances to Yuniesky Betancourt in 2013 – the final season of his career.

Wainwright would take full advantage of a team down on their luck, delivering his first shutout of 2013 with a true gem. He retired the first 10 batters of the game before a Jean Segura single, and even as he allowed three more hits during the game, there was never a major threat by the Brewers.

Even as the game remained tight with a 1-0 margin until the sixth, Wainwright even helped his own cause at the plate, hitting a run-scoring single amid a 7-run inning that sealed the game. While he delivered a career-high 12 Ks on the mound, he would also add three hits, 2 RBI, and a run.


#2 – October 9, 2013  (NLDS Game 5)


Despite a stellar 2.83 postseason ERA, it can be said that Wainwright was not a major factor as a playoff starter. Save for the aforementioned heroics as a closer in the 2006 title run, several factors contributed to limited success in the playoffs, including low run support, blown leads, and poor timing.

As a starter, he will finish his career with a 3-5 mark over 16 games, including two tough losses to the Red Sox in the 2013 World Series.

However, one of those three wins was certainly memorable. The Pirates and Cardinals had battled all year for NL Central supremacy, as the upstart Buccos surprised the baseball world and made the postseason for the first time in two decades.

The Cardinals earned the division crown, which proved decisive in an NLDS that went the distance, as St. Louis hosted game 5 and was able to line up their best pitcher for the occasion.

Opposing Gerrit Cole and an offense that featured MVP Andrew McCutchen, Waino was able to dance around traffic on the bases constantly, surrendering only one run despite allowing 8 hits and a walk. With the Cardinals blowing the game open with a 3-run eighth inning, manager Mike Matheny allowed Wainwright to go out for the ninth, earning his first and only career playoff complete game.



#1 – August 11, 2021


Following another season lost to injuries in 2018, it looked like Adam Wainwright’s career was coming to an end. He would have 31 mediocre starts in 2019 and was merely serviceable in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, only to turn back the clock and deliver one last great season in 2021.

With a 17-7 record, 3.05 ERA, and a seventh-place finish in NL Cy Young voting, it was remarkable to see the 39-year-old leading the Cardinals rotation with his forever battery mate Yadier Molina. Most notably, he led the league with 3 complete games, saving the best start of his career for this moment.

The Pirates were a terrible last-place team with a 41-73 record at the moment, but it still takes a virtuoso pitcher to deliver the type of game that Wainwright had. He faced only one batter over the minimum, as only Colin Moran was able to do something against Waino, with two singles that were the lone blemishes in his stat line.

In the end, Wainwright delivered one of the ultimate Maddux performances, with a complete-game shutout in only 88 pitches.

Even with only 7 strikeouts, this throwback performance stands among the best of the past decade, with Wainwright as a true master of his craft. As always, the final out saw the veteran celebrate with his old pal Yadi.


Pablo Figueroa

Pablo Figueroa is a Baseball Writer here at Pitcher List, with experience as a writer since 2013. He lives in Aguascalientes, Mexico - proud home of Los Rieleros. When he´s not thinking about baseball , he's a husband, owns two dogs, watches random episodes of The Sopranos , plays padel, and works on his day job to pay the bills.

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