Adam Wainwright was born August 30, 1981, in Brunswick, Georgia. He is a pitcher in the MLB.
The Atlanta Braves selected him 29th overall in the first round of the 2000 amateur draft from Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Georgia. His performance in the minor leagues brought him notice as one of the Braves' top pitching prospects. The Braves traded him to the Cardinals after the 2003 season, receiving outfielder J. D. Drew in a deal which has since been considered lopsided in favor of the Cardinals. Wainwright made his MLB debut on September 11, 2005, against the New York Mets.
After spending his first full MLB season as a relief pitcher, Wainwright briefly assumed closer duties, saving the series-clinching games of both the 2006 National League Championship Series and World Series. The next season, he returned to starting pitching, a role in which he has since remained, except for 2011, which he missed due to Tommy John surgery. He emerged as an ace as he led the National League multiple times in wins, innings pitched, and games started. He also has multiple top-ten finishes in earned run average, strikeouts, walks plus hits per inning pitched, and complete games. In 2014, he became the first pitcher in Major League history to post 9 of his first 18 starts with seven innings pitched and no runs allowed. In his career, Wainwright has won more than 150 games, three All-Star selections, two Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and finished in the top three in the Cy Young Award balloting four times.
With 1,830 strikeouts in his career to date, Wainwright is second to Bob Gibson (3,117) in Cardinals franchise history in strikeouts.
On January 28, 2021, Wainwright signed a one-year, $8 million contract to stay with the Cardinals. On April 26, Wainwright pitched a complete game against the Philadelphia Phillies in a 2–1 loss as Rhys Hoskins hit two solo home runs off of him. It was the second such occurrence in his career to pitch a 9-inning complete game and lose since a 2–1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007.
Wainwright picked up his first win of the season in a 6–5 win over the New York Mets on May 3, while also picking up his 1,000th career strikeout at Busch Stadium; joining Bob Gibson as the only Cardinals pitchers with 1,000 strikeouts at their home ballparks. On June 14, Wainwright picked up his 1,900th strikeout against the Miami Marlins. On Father's Day, June 20, he pitched his second complete game of the year, albeit 7-innings against the Atlanta Braves in a 9–1 win; striking out 11 while allowing just one run. On August 10, Wainwright pitched his first shutout since 2016 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park in a 4–0 Cardinals win, throwing 88 pitches. At 39, he became the oldest pitcher to record a shutout since Bartolo Colón in 2015. He was subsequently named National League Pitcher of the Month for August after going 5–1 with a 1.45 ERA, striking out 36 while walking just six over 44 innings. On September 3, Wainwright started against the Brewers with battery mate Yadier Molina, marking their 300th start as a battery. They are the fourth battery in MLB history to make 300 starts. The Cardinals won the game 15–4, with Wainwright picking up the win. While facing the Milwaukee Brewers on September 23, Wainwright recorded his 2,000th career strikeout against Luis Urías. Wainwright became the second pitcher in franchise history alongside Bob Gibson to reach the milestone.
On October 1, the Cardinals and Wainwright agreed on a one-year deal for the 2022 season.
Statistically for 2021, Wainwright had his best season since 2014, going 17–7 with a 3.05 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 206 2/3 innings. Wainwright was second in baseball in wins (17), third in innings pitched (206 2/3), tied for first in complete games (3) and 10th in Walks & Hits per Innings Pitched (1.057) He led the major leagues in sacrifice hits, with 14.
On April 7, 2022, Wainwright won his 100th game at Busch Stadium on Opening Day in a 9–0 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitching six shutout innings with six strikeouts. On May 15, 2022, Wainwright and Molina made history claiming their 203rd win together, becoming the most successful battery in MLB history. Later that season on September 14, Wainwright and Molina set another MLB record by starting alongside one another for the 325th time, surpassing Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan of the Detroit Tigers for the most starts by a battery.
In November 2022, it was announced that Wainwright intended to represent Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.