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The St. Louis Cardinals breezed to an easy 13-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday. In the process, Albert Pujols and Adam Wainwright combined to make history.
In the bottom of the third inning, with the Cardinals already out to a 6-0 lead, Pujols was called in to pinch hit for DH Brendan Donovan. With the bases loaded, 42-year-old Pujols crushed a 1-0 pitch from Rockies lefty Austin Gomber. He sent it just over the left field wall for the 690th career home run.
The Cardinals’ offense was clicking, and so was their defense. Adam Wainwright got the start that day. The 40-year-old threw seven shutout innings, striking out seven and giving up three hits in the process.
Those seven innings coupled with Pujols’ grand slam caught the Elias Sports Bureau’s attention. And they did what the Elias Sports Bureau does: come up with a statistic that would’ve otherwise gone completely unnoticed.
Pujols And Wainwright’s Place In Baseball History
The folks at the Elias Sports Bureau combed through the history books. They found that for the first time in MLB history a team had two players over 40 hit a grand slam and pitch at least seven shutout innings.
It’s an impressive stat, but it’s not exactly shocking that it hasn’t happened
Major League Baseball History goes way back to the 1870s. Of course, in the early days of baseball life expectancy was barely out of the 40s. Still, a player stretching their career into middle age isn’t all that common.
According to RBC Wealth Management, the average age at which MLB players retire is 29.5 years old, so players sticking around as long as Pujols and Wainwright is pretty rare.
Even rarer is a team having two guys in their 40s still playing at a decent enough level to hit home runs or throw strikeouts.
But there’s reason to believe that at some point you can take any two Pujols and Wainwright do and proclaim that the Cardinals are the first team with two players over 40 to do those things in the same game.
Throwing however many strikeouts and getting hit by a pitch. Walking three batters and hitting a ground-rule double. Throwing 6 and 2/3 inning and having to call time while on base to tie a shoe.
So, while it’s kind of a goofy stat to get excited about, it’s always cool to see the old guys have themselves a day.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle