Major League Baseball
Cardinals legend Adam Wainwright has thrown his last MLB pitch
Major League Baseball

Cardinals legend Adam Wainwright has thrown his last MLB pitch

Published Sep. 26, 2023 7:57 p.m. ET

The last time Adam Wainwright threw an MLB pitch, it was to record the final out of seven shutout innings last Wednesday in what would become the St. Louis Cardinals legend's 200th career win. It will also stand as the final pitch of his career, Wainwright and Cardinals manager Oli Marmol told reporters Tuesday.

"I've thought a lot about it the last few days, but I'm in a really good place mentally," the 42-year-old right-hander said ahead of his team's game against the Milwaukee Brewers. "No regrets about anything I ever did, no second thoughts of, am I making the right decision on pitching or retiring. I'm at peace with all of it in this spot that I've never been.

"I've literally left everything I had out there, for real."

Wainwright, a three-time All-Star, pitched all 18 of his seasons with the Cardinals, who won the 2006 World Series in his second year. He threw seven frames of four-hit ball in winning his final start, a 1-0 victory Sept. 18 over the Brewers in St. Louis.


"I knew the day after I pitched that it was going to be very hard for me to throw a ball competitively ever again," he said.

It was the longest outing this season for Wainwright (5-11, 7.40 ERA). He recorded his final out by throwing his trademark curveball to Josh Donaldson, who flied out.

"I felt kind of like Kevin Costner in that movie where I'm thinking, I can do this one more time," he said of his final pitch.

Wainwright went on the injured list in March (groin injury) and in July (shoulder strain). He made 21 starts and threw 101 innings, with 55 strikeouts, but had a career-high 7.40 ERA.

Marmol said that during the Cardinals' series in San Diego against the Padres over the weekend, Wainwright played catch "and the reality is, there's no way he'd be able to go out and throw another inning."

"To walk off the way he did, at home, ended on a curveball, fans on their feet, the ovation after he came out, all of it, there's not a better way to go out,'" Marmol said.

Wainwright spent all 19 years of his MLB career with the Cardinals, and is the third behind Hall of Famers Bob Gibson and Jesse Haines in the Cardinals' all-time wins leaderboard. Wainwright also has the second-highest strikeouts and wins above replacement in Cardinals history, behind Gibson in both categories, per Baseball-Reference. He will finish with a 3.53 career ERA over 2,668 innings pitched.

Wainwright also finished as a Cy Young finalist four times and was an instrumental part of the Cardinals' 2006 championship run as the team's closer, recording the final out of both the National League Championship Series and World Series. He appeared in 29 career playoff games, recording a 2.83 career ERA over 114 postseason innings.

Wainwright received a massive ovation after his final game, including an emotional response from catcher Willson Contreras, whose home run stood as the game's only run in a 1-0 Cardinals victory. Contreras was signed last offseason to replace the retiring Yadier Molina, who combined with Wainwright to set a new MLB record for most career starts by a pitcher-catcher duo last season.

Wainwright's career my not be quite over just yet. He may appear for a ceremonial final at-bat during the Cardinals' final series of the season this coming weekend at home against the Cincinnati Reds. Marmol told reporters that will be contingent on whether the Reds, still on the fringes of a crowded National League wild card race, are still contending for the playoffs. 

Additionally, the musically-talented right-hander — who sang the national anthem in Busch Stadium on opening day this season — will also play a postgame concert there after the Cardinals' Sept. 30 game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Get more from Major League Baseball Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more