No matter what the scoreboard said at the end of the day, the St. Louis Cardinals had already won on Sunday. By starting Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, and Adam Wainwright together in the final home game of the regular season, they gave their trio of retiring legends the chance to soak in the adulation one last time.
That continued during the game as well. When Oli Marmol came out of the dugout to take the ball from Wainwright, he also removed Molina and Pujols from the game at the same time, allowing the trio to depart together one last time.
St. Louis Cardinals continue to show why they are the class of MLB
The Cardinals are a team that, perhaps more than any other, recognizes their history and the impact their legends have made. They are loyal to those players, making certain that they have the opportunity to end their careers in the city that embraced them and turned them into fan favorites and icons.
Such was the case with Pujols, Molina, and Wainwright. Pujols may have spent a decade away from St. Louis, but he is thought of as a member of the Cardinals. Molina and Wainwright tested free agency, but they were always brought back. The Cardinals were not going to let them go anywhere.
And it is fitting that they are likely heading off into retirement together. That trio is synonymous with the Cardinals over the past two decades, key pieces of their success and amongst the first players that come to mind when the modern era of the franchise’s history is brought up. Their numbers are likely to be retired at some point in the near future, and it would be fitting if it happened at the same time. Letting them walk off the diamond together was perfect.
The St. Louis Cardinals understand legacies and how to treat their players. Having Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, and Adam Wainwright leave together was perfect.