About sixty four years separated the time from when Red Schoendienst had his tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright delivered the final pitch of the 2006 World Series. Yet while their playing time was decades apart and their positions differed, Wainwright is one of the countless players to benefit from the advice and friendship of the late Hall of Famer.
“The first thing I thought of was the way that he still, like until last year, would still get out there driving the cart and shagging balls–still like a coach out there in Spring Training,” said Wainwright. “He would still pull you aside occasionally and talk baseball with you. Until this spring, when we didn’t see him–his mind was still a brilliant baseball mind. He still understood the game better than we did and he still knew the little nuances better than we did. He still had so much to give and so much to teach, it was always great having him around.”
There was also plenty of conversation that had nothing to do with baseball.
“We always talked gardening and tomatoes,” smiled Wainwright. “He would bring in his big ol’ beefsteak tomatoes and I’d bring in mine and we’d compare our tomatoes and see who had the better crop. He and I had a lot of like interests. Red was known to carry a shotgun in his car at all times and pull up to random duck clubs all over the state and everybody welcomes Red. Just a great guy. Just a solid influence around here.”
photo credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports