Wainwright Reflects on Remarkable Cardinals Career in Emotional Letter
In a heartfelt letter published in The Players’ Tribune, former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright looked back on his incredible career with the team. Now that his retirement is official and he has embarked on the next chapter of his life, Wainwright took the time to reminisce about the journey that all began in the living room of his future in-laws.
Recalling a pivotal moment, Wainwright wrote, “I’m sitting with her dad in their living room, in my best clothes, trying to find the right words: ‘Sir, as you know, I love your daughter, and—’ When all of a sudden I hear this sound. BZZZ. BZZZ BZZZ. It’s my cell phone vibrating.”
Little did he know, that phone call would bring news that his mother considered devastating. “I can tell instantly—Mom has been crying her eyes out. I’m like, ‘What’s wrong? Is everything OK?’ And (still sobbing) she goes, ‘NO. You’ve been TRADED,'” Wainwright shared.
With that unexpected turn of events, the Georgia native went from being the top prospect in the Atlanta Braves system to becoming one of the premier pitchers in the Cardinals organization.
Throughout his letter, Wainwright highlighted several turning points in his life and career. Surprisingly, two of the most significant moments occurred when he was unable to play. In 2005, he was left off the playoff roster and informed that he wouldn’t be joining the team on their trip to Houston for the National League Championship Series.
One of the most iconic moments in Cardinals history, Albert Pujols’ ninth-inning home run off Brad Lidge in Game 5, proved to be a nightmare for Wainwright. Overwhelmed by the situation, he retreated to a dark place, paddling his john boat into the middle of a pond.
Wainwright recalled, “But I just started yelling, real loud… and, honestly, asking God for answers. I was like, ‘Why am I here tonight instead of there? What’s so wrong about me? Why is what I’m doing not enough?'”
However, when he returned to the team for spring training in 2006, Wainwright did so with a renewed sense of determination and passion.
The rest, as they say, is history. Wainwright went on to describe the rest of his remarkable career in the letter, which can be read in its entirety on The Players’ Tribune website.
Concluding his heartfelt message, Wainwright expressed his favorite aspect of being a Cardinal: “How every time I stepped on the field, I was helping write a story. Not my story, but something bigger than mine. Bigger than anyone’s. It’s the story of a city that loves baseball. It started before I got here, and I’m pretty sure it never ends.”