ST. LOUIS — With just 20 more starts together in 2022, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina will earn an all-time baseball record. At a combined 79 years old entering the 2022 season, the pair is hoping to become the greatest baseball battery; ever.
Wainwright and Molina have started 305 games together at the end of the 2021 season, with the Cardinals winning 200 of them. With 20 more games, they'll pass the Detroit Tigers battery of Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan for most in baseball history.
Wainwright said in a Sports Plus interview with 5 On Your Side sports director Frank Cusumano that the record with Molina would be one of the most special milestones in his career.
"Right at the top. I think when you think about baseball, it's been played for so long and so many players have played it. So many legends of the game have played it. If you can get any kind of all-time record right now in today's game, that's a pretty big deal," Wainwright said. "I'm just blessed to be able to pitch as many games as I have to Yadier. But if we can break that record, that's something we can always, always, always talk about and something we'll always have. Because I'll be honest. I don't think anyone is ever gonna break that record again. That's a cool record to get. It would be a special thing to be known as the all-time battery in any sport ever. It would be crazy."
With two more starts, the pair would pass Red Faber and Red Schalk for third-most battery starts. With 12 more, they'll pass Warren Spahn and Del Crandall to move into second place.
The two have likely had close to thousands of mound conversations over the years, but Wainwright shed light on a particularly interesting one a few years ago Sunday night on Sports Plus.
"2019 I believe it was. I was kind of grinding through a game. I didn't have my best stuff but we were finding a way. It was like the fifth or sixth inning, runners on second and third with one out. And Yadier starts to come to walk out and see me. And usually it's kind of like, 'Alright hey. What are we gonna go with here? Let's focus on getting this ball down in the zone.' Or, 'Hey, you're flying open or let's get one inside on this guy.' Talking about game plan and stuff. But he knew my stuff was what it was that day. It wasn't going to get better. It was more like trying to free me up mentally and get me into the right headspace. And he and I had been trying to make a trade in fantasy football for a few weeks. So he comes out to the mound and says, 'Hey. What do you think about trading me Tyreek Hill?' And it kind of caught me off guard. And I was like, 'No. I'm not trading you Tyreek Hill. It's not gonna happen. He's on my team.' And he goes, 'Oh, OK.' And he turned around and walked back to home plate. When he got back to home plate he put down the signs and we got the first guy to strike out, the next guy to pop out to the infield and got out of the inning. It was just so cool because my mind was starting to kind of wander and I was starting to kind of worry about things and he put me right at ease and got me back on the offensive," Wainwright said.
Both Wainwright and Molina are returning to the Cardinals for 2022 on one-year deals. It will be their 18th season together in St. Louis, which is the most seasons for two players as teammates in Cardinals history, and one of the longest tenures for teammates in baseball history.