Like fine wine
If the St. Louis Cardinals were to ever designate a captain, that honor would/should certainly be bestowed on Yadier Molina before anyone else on the team. Yadi, who turns 39 on July 13, is showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to catching balls behind the plate for the St. Louis Cardinals. In fact, if anything, like a fine wine, Molina only seems to get better (looking) with age.
Perhaps, grape growers, that’s what this man needs. A tough red with a bit of sweetness to match his playing style and the grin on his face. Call it “Catcher” and sell it at Busch Stadium by the glass or by the growler, and I guarantee it will be an instant hit. Fans can toast Molina and the rest of the team in style as they continue to dominate the NL Central with 30 wins and 22 losses.
That being said, fans are beginning to wonder if this will be the last season for Molina as a Cardinal. He signed just a one-year contract earlier this year for $9 million dollars but what happens next for him remains to be seen.
In an interview earlier this year on LaVida Baseball, Molina had this to say:
“If God wants me to come back, then I’ll come back. And if not, I will retire happy with my head held high.”
If after this season he’s offered a contract that pays him what he believes he is worth, he may continue to play, but if not, then he’s content that his career might be coming to a close. And for Molina, what a ride it has been.
He set his first record of the 2021 season on opening day against the Cincinnati Reds when he started his 17 consecutive opening days behind the plate for the Redbirds. This means that Molina is second to only Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, who currently holds the record with 20.
Not only is this a personal record for Molina, but it’s a franchise record for the Cardinals as well because Molina has spent his entire career playing for just one team. That being said, Molina set his second record of the season on April 14.
It was on that night that Adam Wainwright was on the mound for the Cardinals in a series finale against the Washington Nationals. It was also Wainwright who had the honor of tossing Molina his 2,000 consecutive pitch with the same MLB organization. When it happened, Wainwright stepped down off the mound to congratulate his teammate, who said it was just another number.
“I just want to be out there and play the game for our team and for our city and to play to win. I never think to go out there and make my numbers. I always think about the team first.”
He’s also humble, and he prefers to stay out of the spotlight. He knows that if the Cardinals are going to win games, it can’t be about just one player, it needs to be about everyone working together as a team.
It would have been more amazing had the Cardinals won that game against the Nationals, but they ended up losing 6-0. Regardless of the score, as I said, it was a game for the record books.
He’s only one of six catchers to hold this title–Ivan Rodriguez, Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, Jason Kendall, Bob Boone have done it and now so has Molina. He also holds four Platinum Gold Gloves, he has two World Series Wins, and he’s played in 9 All-Star Games. There’s no doubt in the mind of any Redbird fan that the Nine Time Gold Glove Winner is surely headed for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.