Cardinals fans flock to Busch for ceremony honoring Molina and Pujols ahead of final game

St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols (5) and Yadier Molina (4) are honored during a ceremony...
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols (5) and Yadier Molina (4) are honored during a ceremony before the start of the Cardinals' final regular season baseball game Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, against the Pittsburgh Pirates in St. Louis. Pujols and Molina have said they plan to retire at the conclusion of this season. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 3:58 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - MLB pitchers are typically creatures of habit on their start days. The general expectation within the sport is not to bother that day’s starting pitcher ahead of his outing, allow him time to himself and to his routine to set his mind for the battle ahead. That’s the script for a typical start day.

If you were one among the sea of Cardinals red at Busch Stadium ahead of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Pirates, you could tell this was no typical start day for Adam Wainwright.

During a pregame ceremony celebrating Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols on the field ahead of the duo’s final regular-season game at Busch, Wainwright took to the microphone as one of the speakers. He referred to Pujols as the greatest hitter he’s ever been around, and told his “catch-partner” Yadier Molina, “I’m going to miss you the most.”

Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and team president of baseball operations John Mozeliak also spoke during the ceremony. The Cardinals presented Molina and Pujols with a number of gifts on the field, including brand-new sets of golf clubs--a classic retirement gift.

Wainwright joked that the Pirates would likely be champing at the bit to hit ‘seven or eight’ home runs against him after sitting through the pre-game ceremony for the opposing players, which delayed the game’s first pitch by about 25 minutes. Ultimately Ben Gamel was the only Pirates hitter to go deep against Wainwright in the game, but

Pujols and Molina both made their mark at the plate on Sunday. Pujols opened with a ground-rule double in the first. He came around to score on a sacrifice fly by his buddy Yadi later in the inning.

Then in the third, in his final Busch Stadium at-bat in the regular season, Pujols put a charge into one to center field, launching home run No. 702 and tying Babe Ruth for second on the all-time MLB RBI list with 2,214.

Molina and Pujols left the game in the middle of the fifth inning when Oli Marmol removed Wainwright from the contest. The trio walked off the field together to one last ovation from the adoring St. Louis fans.