Adam Wainwright

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Adam Wainwright
St. Louis Cardinals – No. 50
Starting pitcher
Born: (1981-08-30) August 30, 1981 (age 32)
Brunswick, Georgia
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 11, 2005 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Career statistics
(through April 17, 2014)
Win–loss record 102–58
Earned run average 3.09
Strikeouts 1,159
Career highlights and awards

Adam Parrish Wainwright (born August 30, 1981) is an American professional baseball starting pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball. He was drafted 29th overall by the Atlanta Braves in the 2000 amateur draft. He made his major league debut for the St. Louis Cardinals on September 11, 2005 against the New York Mets.

Early life[edit]

Wainwright was born in Brunswick, Georgia to Bill, an attorney, and Nancy Wainwright, a real estate agent.[1] However, his parents divorced when he was seven years old and his father moved to Florida, leaving only Wainwright's mother to raise him and his older brother Trey, now also an attorney in Atlanta.[1][2] Wainwright credits Trey, seven years his senior, with teaching him everything he knows about sports after their father left, including building a pitcher's mound in their back yard to teach Adam how to pitch.[1][2] The young Wainwright also participated in the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and numerous church activities, and grew up a huge Braves fan.[1][2]

High school and adulthood[edit]

Wainwright attended high school at Glynn Academy in his native Brunswick where he was an athletic and academic standout.[2] A multi-sport athlete, Wainwright also played football, in which he was named to the All-State team as a wide receiver his junior and senior years as well as All-Region honors as a placekicker.[1] With a fastball over 90 mph and batting average at times over .500, his future would lie in baseball, however, and Wainwright was named Gatorade Georgia Player of the Year in 2000.[1] He garnered considerable interest from colleges and universities offering both academic and baseball scholarships, including Georgia Tech.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Draft and Minor Leagues[edit]

When he was selected 29th overall in the first round of the 2000 amateur draft by his favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, Wainwright chose to forgo college to go straight to the pros, signing a contract with the Braves that included a $1.25 million bonus. Less than two weeks after high school graduation Wainwright reported to the Braves rookie team and soon advanced to Atlanta's Class A Danville Braves in the Appalachian League. He pitched for the Macon Braves in the South Atlantic League in 2001 where he broke the team record for strikeouts, previously held by Bruce Chen, with 184.[1] Wainwright spent the 2002 season in the Carolina League and also participated in that season's All-Star Futures Game. In 2003 Wainwright advanced to the Brave's Double-A Greenville.[1]

In December 2003, Wainwright was sent to the Cardinals along with pitchers Jason Marquis and Ray King in a trade that sent outfielder J. D. Drew and utility man Eli Marrero to the Atlanta Braves.

St. Louis Cardinals (2005-present)[edit]

After two somewhat uneven seasons in the Cardinals' minor-league system, Wainwright made his MLB debut for St. Louis on September 11, 2005.



Wainwright made the Cardinals' Opening Day roster as a relief pitcher after having been a starter for his entire minor-league career. On May 24, 2006, Wainwright homered against the San Francisco Giants' Noah Lowry in his first major league at bat[1]; he became the 22nd batter in Major League history and 11th National Leaguer to hit a home run off the first pitch thrown in his first at-bat.[3]

Wainwright pitched capably as a middle reliever, but when Cardinal closer Jason Isringhausen underwent season-ending hip surgery in September, Wainwright was pressed into service as the closer. He saved two crucial games on September 27 and September 30 as St. Louis held off a late charge by Houston and won the NL Central Division championship. Making the postseason despite an unexceptional 83–78 record, the Cardinals rolled through October to win the 10th world championship in franchise history. As the new closer, Wainwright took center stage:

  • On October 19, 2006, in the final game of the National League Championship Series, Wainwright, with the bases loaded, struck out Carlos Beltrán looking on a curveball, ending the New York Mets' season and sending the Cardinals to the World Series.


Wainwright moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation for 2007. With Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter lost for the year due to elbow surgery, Wainwright emerged as the most reliable Cardinals starter. On August 10, he threw the first complete game of his career in a 2–1 loss to Los Angeles, the only nine-inning complete game for the Cardinals that season. By September, Wainwright had established himself as the staff ace in Carpenter's absence, going 9–6 with a 2.94 ERA from mid-May to the end of the season. Wainwright finished his first year as a starter by leading the Cardinals in almost every pitching category—games started, innings pitched, strikeouts, and wins—and compiling a 3.70 ERA and a 14–12 record.


In March 2008, Wainwright signed a four-year deal with the Cardinals worth $21 million, with two club options for 2012 and 2013 that could push the value of the deal to $36 million.[4] He suffered a finger injury in June that caused him to miss 2½ months of the season but still finished 11–3 with a 3.20 ERA, easily the best in the Cardinal rotation.


On August 19, 2009, at Dodger Stadium, Wainwright pitched a no-hitter going against the Los Angeles Dodgers for 5⅓ innings before it was broken up by Orlando Hudson with a clean single to left field. On September 26, he pitched eight innings and struck out eleven for a 6-3, NL Central division-clinching victory against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. He also picked up his Major League-leading 19th win.[5] Wainwright finished with a 19-8 record and a 2.63 ERA and leading the National League in wins, games started (34), and innings pitched (233).[6]

On October 28, he won the NL Most Outstanding Pitcher (Players Choice Award).[7] He won his first Gold Glove Award on November 11, 2009.[8]

Wainwright was a top contender for the Cy Young with teammate Chris Carpenter and eventual winner Tim Lincecum. He became only the second pitcher (Trevor Hoffman being the first) ever to get the most first place votes and not win the award.[9]


Pitching in his first All Star Game, Wainwright completed one inning. He faced five batters, throwing 17 pitches for ten strikes and seven balls, and allowed no runs with just one hit––a double off the glove of fellow Cardinal All-Star Matt Holliday––one walk, and two strikeouts.[10]

Wainwright finished the 2010 season 20–11 with a 2.42 ERA, five complete games, 213 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.05, all career highs. His win total and ERA were both good for second place in the National League (only Josh Johnson had a better ERA, while Roy Halladay picked up 21 wins). He also pitched the first two shutouts of his career in 2010 – one against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 4 and the other against the Florida Marlins on August 6.[11]

Wainwright was the runner-up for the 2010 NL Cy Young Award, finishing second in voting behind unanimous winner Halladay.[12]


Wainwright in the dugout.

Shortly after reporting to spring training, Wainwright experienced discomfort in his right elbow while pitching batting practice on February 21. Three days later, the Cardinals announced that Wainwright would miss the entire 2011 season––and possibly the first three months of the next season––after finding ulnar collateral ligament damage necessitated Tommy John surgery (TJS). George Paletta, the team physician, performed the surgery on February 28 in St. Louis and it was termed as "successful."[13] Former clients for the same surgery include Chris Carpenter, Jaime García, and Kyle McClellan.[14][15] Wainwright's contract contained options for 2012 and 2013 totaling $21 million with a provision that they would not automatically vest if he ended the 2011 season on the disabled list.[16]


Fully recovered after TJS and rehabilitation, Wainwright was ready ahead of schedule in time for spring training. Statistically, the 2012 season proved to be an overall disappointment season by Wainwright's standards, as he wound up 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA. However, it was encouraging in regards to his health following TJS as he completed the entire season without any issues. In addition, pitchers recovering from TJS often find it challenging at first to throw with the same command before the surgery, and thus to achieve post-surgery results equal to pre-surgery results.[17] On May 22, he threw his first complete game shutout since August 6, 2010 and the third of his career in his ninth complete game. It was a four-hit, 4-0 win at home against the San Diego Padres, striking out nine and walking only one.[18]

He pitched his 1,000th inning after 2.1 IP on July 29, and presently owns the 4th highest ERA+ of all active pitchers,[19] and 38th all-time.[20]


On March 28, 2013 it was announced that Wainwright had agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Cardinals.[21] He was already under contract for the 2013 season so the new deal will be in effect starting in 2014. Reported by multiple media sources at $97.5 million, the extension is the largest contract the Cardinals have ever offered a pitcher.[21]

On April 18, he became the first pitcher in baseball since 1900, to achieve 28 strikeouts and 0 walks in his first four starts of a season. He has pitched 29 innings (facing 113 batters), the longest stretch without giving up a walk starting a season for a Cardinals' pitcher since Pea Ridge Day had 29 23 innings without a walk in 1925.[22][23] Slim Sallee established the record for a Cardinals' pitcher from the start of a season exactly one hundred years earlier with 40 walk-free innings.[24] His streak ended in the next start at Washington on April 23, after pitching 5 23 innings, giving him 34 23 consecutive innings and facing 133 batters before giving up a walk.[25]

On June 13, Wainwright became the first MLB pitcher in 2013 to win 10 games, pitching seven scoreless innings as the Cardinals beat the New York Mets 2-1 at Citi Field. He scattered four hits, and struck out six in the victory. His first strikeout of that game, on David Wright, was the 1,000th of his career.[26]

He was named NL Pitcher of the Month for June with a 4-2 1.77 ERA record. He struck out 40 while issuing only six walks, holding opposing batters to a .220 average. For the year, he is 11-5 with a 2.22 ERA, leading all of baseball with four complete games and a 9.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.[27]

He struck out eight batters in the September 7 game at home against the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates for 1,103 strikeouts in his career, passing Dizzy Dean (1,095) for second place among Cardinals' pitchers. Only Bob Gibson (3,117 in 528 games) has more strikeouts. He threw seven shutout innings giving the Pirates only two hits and two walks, picking up his league-leading 16th win against nine losses, and a 3.03 ERA. He now has 195 strikeouts for the season, second only to the L.A. Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw who has 201.[28] The win also pushed the Cardinals back into first-place by just 12 game in the see-saw Central division against the Pirates, and only 1 12 games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds. Wainwright was coming off the two worst games of his career, uncharacteristically allowing 15 earned runs and 17 hits in those two games totaling eight innings.[29] He had walked 14 in 60 innings since the All-Star break, compared with 15 in 146 23 before the break.[30] When fellow starter Shelby Miller defeated the Washington Nationals' Jordan Zimmerman on September 26, he denied him his 20th victory.[31] Two days later, Wainwright, who had 18 entering the game, defeated the Chicago Cubs in his final start of the season to tie Zimmerman for the lead in wins at 19. Wainwright also joined select Cardinals company as he became just the third pitcher in franchise history to twice lead the league in wins. Dizzy Dean led the NL in 193435 and Mort Cooper in 194243.[32] He also led the NL in games started (34), innings pitched (241.2), hits allowed (223), and batters faced (956).

He currently has a career 129 ERA+, fifth-highest for an active pitcher (fourth for starters) who has a minimum of 1,000 innings, and a .635 winning percentage, ninth-highest for active pitchers.[33][34] Wainwright won his second Gold Glove award in 2013.[35] In the Cy Young balloting, Wainwright placed second, his second such ranking, and finished 23rd in the NL MVP voting.[36][37]


He won his career 100th game on Opening Day (March 31) against the Cincinnati Reds at their ballpark, going seven innings, striking out nine, giving up only three singles, in a 1-0 win. It was his first Opening Day win while leaving the Reds with their first Opening Day shutout since 1953.[38]

He pitched one of his best games at Nationals Park against Washington on April 17, with a 2-hit shut out, 8-0. He gave up the first hit in the second inning with a high infield chopper, but none after until two-outs in the ninth. He walked three and struck out eight. It was his seventh career shutout.[39]

After his April 17th 2-hitter shutout, he has a career 130 ERA+, second-highest for an active pitcher (second for starters) who has a minimum of 1,000 innings, and a .638 winning percentage, sixth-highest (tied) for active pitchers.[40][41]

Pitching style[edit]

Wainwright has a sinkerball, throwing it in the 90-92 mph range. He also throws a good deal of cutters (85–88) and curveballs (72–76)That has dropped more than 8 inches before from top to bottom of the pitch. Less commonly, he also throws a four-seam fastball (90–94, tops out at the mid 90s) and changeup (83–86). He uses all of his pitches against left-handed hitters, but he does not use the changeup against right-handers. Wainwright's most-used pitch in 2-strike counts is his curveball.[42]

In spring training of 2013, he started incorporating an elevated four-seam fastball, making his curveball more effective.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Wainwright married his high school sweetheart, Jenny Curry, in 2004.[2] In a quirk of fate, he was in the midst of proposing to Curry in December, 2003, when a telephone call interrupted him to inform him he'd been traded from the Braves to the Cardinals.[1] Mrs. Wainwright holds a degree in Interior Design from Georgia Southern University. In the off-season, the Wainwrights reside on St. Simons Island, Georgia, with their three daughters, Baylie Grace (born September 10, 2006) Morgan Addison (born October 22, 2008), and Macy (born November 7, 2011)Days after the Cardinals won the World Series. Wainwright has also openly expressed his Christian faith,[43][44] and is active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.[2]

In July, 2013 Adam Wainwright launched a new initiative to benefit various charities. According to Wainwright in an interview with Fox Sports Midwest, the website combines his love of fantasy football with his passion for helping the less fortunate. For a registration fee, of which all goes to charity, fans can assemble their own fantasy team and compete throughout the season against not only Wainwright but his fellow Cardinals players Allen Craig, David Freese, and Matt Holliday.[45] Those with the best team records at seasons end will receive prizes.[46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Adam Wainwright biography". Jock website. 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Darnall, Mark (14 February 2011). "Cardinals Right-Hander is Thriving in his work and calling". Athletes in Action website. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Home Run With First Pitch Ever". Baseball Almanac. Archived from the original on 23 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  4. ^ Leach, Matthew (2008-03-20). "Wainwright signs long-term deal Cardinals right-hander agrees to four-year contract". Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  5. ^ "Gutty Wainwright leads Cards to clinch: Righty tosses eight solid innings; LaRue hits go-ahead blast". 2009-09-27. 
  6. ^ "Adam Wainwright Stats". 2013-02-03. 
  7. ^ "Wainwright wins Outstanding Pitcher award from peers". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 2009-10-28. 
  8. ^ "Molina, Wainwright nab Gold Gloves: Back-to-back awards for Cards catcher; hurler wins first". 2009-11-11. 
  9. ^ Haft, Chris (November 19, 2009). "Lincecum's the one; that makes two Cys". Retrieved January 22, 2011. "Wainwright became only the second pitcher to garner the most first-place votes and not win the award. In 1998, Atlanta's Tom Glavine collected 11 first-place votes to 13 for San Diego's Trevor Hoffman but amassed the most points, 98–88, and took home the trophy." 
  10. ^ NL 3, AL 1
  11. ^ Adam Wainwright
  12. ^ "Wainwright second to Halladay on Cy ballot". 2010-11-16. 
  13. ^ Wainwright surgery deemed a success, (February 28, 2011)
  14. ^ Wainwright set for Tommy John surgery, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (February 24, 2011)
  15. ^ Earlier: Cards, Wainwright 'prepare for the worst', St. Louis Post-Dispatch (February 24, 2011)
  16. ^ Cards GM: Wainwright needs Tommy John, (February 24, 2011)
  17. ^ Short, D.J. (April 19, 2012). "Adam Wainwright continues to struggle in return from Tommy John surgery". NBC Sports. 
  18. ^ Wainwright throws first shutout since 2010, (May 23, 2012)
  19. ^ Active Leaders & Records for Adjusted ERA+,
  20. ^ Career Leaders & Records for Adjusted ERA+,
  21. ^ a b Langosch, Jenifer (28 March 2013). "Wainwright, Cardinals agree on five-year extension". via St. Louis Cardinals official website. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "Goold: Meet Pea Ridge Day, the Cardinals' hog-calling pitcher". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. April 23, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Cards Notebook: Molina rests; Waino makes history". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. April 20, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Wainwright still hasn't issued a walk". April 19, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "Wainwright dominates as Cards blank Nats". April 23, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Wainwright spins gem, becomes first to reach 10 wins". June 13, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Wainwright named NL Pitcher of the Month: Cardinals ace won four games, struck out 40 batters in June". July 3, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Wainwright moves to No. 2 on Cardinals' K's list". September 8, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Cards back in first as Wainwright throws gem: Righty holds Pirates to two hits over seven scoreless innings". September 7, 2013. 
  30. ^ McNeal, Stan (September 6, 2013). "Wainwright believes he has recent struggles figured out". Fox Sports Midwest. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  31. ^ Associated Press (September 26, 2013). "NL capsules". AP News Archive. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  32. ^ Associated Press (September 28, 2013). "Wainwright wins 19th, Cardinals beat Cubs 6–2". Daily Herald. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Active Leaders & Records for Adjusted ERA+". Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Active Leaders & Records for Win-Loss %". Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  35. ^ Associated Press; Skretta, Dave (October 29, 2013). "Yadier Molina of St. Louis Cardinals wins sixth straight Gold Glove". Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Clayton Kershaw takes another". Baseball Writers' Association of America. November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Andrew McCutchen wins Pirates’ 1st MVP since 1992". Baseball Writers' Association of America. November 14, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  38. ^ Cardinals' battery powers shutout of Reds,, March 31, 2014 
  39. ^ "Waino stymies Nationals with two-hit shutout". April 17, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Active Leaders & Records for Adjusted ERA+". Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Active Leaders & Records for Win-Loss %". Retrieved April 18, 201a4. 
  42. ^ "PITCHf/x Player Card: Adam Wainwright". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  43. ^ The Official Site of The St. Louis Cardinals: Team: Player Information : Biography and Career Highlights
  44. ^ Sharing the Victory Magazine – vsItemDisplay
  45. ^ "Waino's World of Fantasy Football Charity Event". Waino's World Inc. via RealTime Fantasy Sports Inc. website. 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  46. ^ Langosch, Jenifer (30 July 2013). "Waino launches fantasy football league for charity". via St. Louis Cardinals official website. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 

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