The St. Louis Cardinals found a unique way to honor retiring pitcher Adam Wainwright on Friday, allowing the 18-year veteran to do something he hadn’t done in two years.
With the Cardinals trailing the Cincinnati Reds 14-2 in the bottom of the sixth, they sent Wainwright to the plate to pinch-hit, garnering a massive ovation from the Busch Stadium faithful.
Wainwright took a mighty hack on the first pitch he saw from Reds starter Brandon Williamson, fouling it to the backstop. On the second pitch, Wainwright hit a sharp grounder to second base, which traveled 102.1 mph off his bat.
There were hints that Wainwright might see an at-bat at some point during the series. Earlier on Friday, Wainwright took BP, even hitting one into the seats.
Before the National League adopted the designated hitter in 2022, Wainwright was competent with the bat. While most pitchers were an easy out at the plate, Wainwright was anything but. Over 846 career plate appearances, Wainwright slashed .193/.220/.291 with 39 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 75 RBI and 27 walks.
Occupying last place in the NL Central (69-91), the Cardinals have little to play for over their final two regular season games. Hopefully, that means we haven’t seen the last of Wainwright at the dish.