My true love gave to me, two turtle doves.
On May 9, 2003, two young men faced each other — one pitching and one batting. Their names? Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright. Molina was only 20-years-old as he stepped up to the plate. His future battery mate was only 21-years-old and clothed in a Greenville Braves jersey.
“You start off as a teammate with someone, then you learn how to be friends. Then after a while what happens is, you’ve played with somebody for so long that you don’t even know what it would look like without him there,” Wainwright once said.
Molina went 1-for-3 against Wainwright on that day, neither of them knowing they would be linked to each other for the rest of their lives. Yadi and Waino, Waino and Yadi.
The following winter, the Cardinals would trade for Adam Wainwright — inviting both Wainwright and Molina to spring training. While Wainwright’s first bullpen throw was to Mike Matheny, his second would be to his lifelong friend, on a backfield in Jupiter far away from the spotlight and far away from where they would end up 16 years later.
The same year, the two became a battery — which would eventually become one of the most iconic, enduring, faithful, and fruitful relationships in the history of modern day baseball.
“He is, without question, one of the things I’ll look back and be able to tell my kids about. One of the most proud things for me was to be able to pitch to Yadier Molina every fifth day.”Adam Wainwright
As of 2019, the two have logged 278 starts together. They sealed the final moment in the 2006 World Series, both earning a spot in the hearts of many St. Louis Cardinals fans.
A decade and a half of friendship, trust, and baseball. Most of their teammates and opponents seem to think they have telepathy, like they are able to think with one brain. It might seem like a wild conspiracy but it isn’t. They know each other so well, often Molina doesn’t even throw signs down. When he does, Wainwright says he can predict them based on how Molina is positioned behind the plate. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.
Going into the 2020 season, the fans of both men, who faced each other on opposite teams 16.5 years ago, will rise to the occasion again for what may be their last season.
Talk about two turtle doves, best friends forever.