St. Louis Cardinals baseball fans know that we are down to the final few months of watching three legends playing together. Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, sure Hall of Famers, have announced that this will be their final season. Soon to be 41-year-old pitcher Adam Wainwright has not said that this will be his final season. And why should it be? He’s still competing at a high level. But it certainly could be.
Pujols rejoined the Cardinals for his final season after leaving the team for the Los Angeles Angels for a ten-year contract after the Cardinals won the 2011 World Series. Yes, I was mad at him for leaving, and gave away a brand new Cardinals Pujols jersey with the 2011 World Series patch on it. But in 2019, when the Angels returned to St. Louis for a series against the Cardinals, I was on my feet cheering for Pujols. Pujols can no longer hit right-handed pitching, but has been effective against left-handers this season. Coming into the season 21 home runs short of 700 for his career, it doesn’t appear that he will reach that amazing plateau, sitting at just 4 for this season as of this writing. But Pujols seems to be having a great time mentoring young players, especially Juan Yepez, and being reunited with Molina and Wainwright.
Molina has been my favorite Cardinal player since Pujols left for the Angels. He reported late to Spring Training for personal reasons, and has played sparingly this season. He is currently on the injured list, but hopefully he can get healthy and finish this season and his career strong.
I’ve enjoyed attending a few games this season with family and friends. The feeling I have as I go to Busch Stadium is not unlike that when my brother Mike and I would go to the United Center in Chicago to see the Bulls play in 1998. We knew that we would never again see the likes of Michael Jordan, who along with Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, and coached by Phil Jackson, brought six NBA championships to Chicago.
Not many teams can boast of having two future Hall of Famers playing out their final games. And Wainwright, though probably not a Baseball Hall of Famer, is approaching 200 wins for his career, and will certainly be voted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame.
The Cardinals are having a good season, though not a great one. Led by Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, the team has been bolstered by break-out performances by rookies such as Yepez, Brendan Donovan and Nolan Gorman. These young players show that Cardinals baseball will be in good hands in the years ahead.
If you are a Cardinals fan, or a baseball fan in general, enjoy these final few months as these three legends play their final season together. Hopefully the team can finish strong and maybe even win a third World Series championship for Pujols, Molina and Wainwright.