ST. LOUIS – Adam Wainwright, a right-handed starting pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, grew up in a single-parent Christian home with his mom and older brother, Trey.
During his childhood, Wainwright went to Sunday school, to church, to Vacation Bible School, as well as Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. But despite the positive input growing up, he did not become a Christian at that time.
“I am a true testament that just because you grew up in church does not mean you are a Christian or believer,” Wainwright says. “I had doubts and was always questioning. Not that I didn’t believe in God, [but] I wasn’t listening to anything He wanted to tell me, and I was not ready to have Him in my life.
“Mom was a typical single mother who worked two jobs – dad not around – always making sure Trey and I were taken care of, fed, going to good schools, hanging out with the right crowd and making sure we were in church.”
Ten days after graduating from high school in 2000, Wainwright was off to the minor leagues. His mom says, “I was happy for Adam. Adam said since 5 years old that he wanted to be a pro baseball player, and to see him live out his dream is just an unbelievable experience.”
“In 2002, my good friend, Blaine Boyer, and my agent, Steve Hammond, encouraged me to go to Pro Athletes Outreach meetings and to get some questions answered,” Wainwright says. “I had several friends who were believers who said to get involved and search out what you believe. I took that as a sign and that I should figure out one way or another whether I am destined to believe or not believe. In doing that process, I really came to know the Lord. I made that leap of faith to accept Christ as my Savior.”
In 2004, Wainwright was traded from the Braves organization to the St. Louis Cardinals. His major league debut was Sept. 11, 2005, against the New York Mets.
“Christ has changed my life dramatically in that I (now) try to see everything with a pair of godly glasses or lenses,” Wainwright says. “I know Christ has made me a better husband and parent. I know God is watching me all the time, so I know I have that accountability all the time. He is in the room with me no matter what I am doing.”
Another type of accountability that helps Wainwright stay the course is his fellow Christian ballplayers.
“We have a great core group here with the Cardinals, guys who are consistent in their faith. There are guys in our clubhouse who will always be there for us as far as accountability goes. When you are gone a lot and you are alone in the hotel room – that is when you get weird.
“That is why it is important to have that relationship with your teammates to help keep each other in check. You have to have personal time, but you also have to have fellowship. That is the key word here – fellowship.”
Wainwright summarizes what he feels is his purpose in playing ball and in life by paraphrasing Acts 20:24, “My life means nothing to me unless I carry out the work given to me by God, the work of telling others the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s mighty kindness and love.”