SPRINGFIELD, ILL. -- St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright strummed a Gibson J-45 guitar and sang original songs at a benefit concert Monday in Springfield, Illinois.
Wainwright, who said he never got nervous taking the mound in front of 45,538 Cardinal faithful, said he would feel the nerves coming out performing in front of the 500-plus fans at Boondocks Pub.
“I don’t get nervous pitching, but I get nervous doing things out of my element,” Wainwright said. “And that’s a little outside of my element.”
Proceeds from the show went to Wainwright’s charitable foundation, Big League Impact. The foundation partners with pro athletes and raises money to help communities both nationally and internationally that need food, water, shelter and other basic human necessities.
“We love finding those people who don’t have the things we take for granted,” Wainwright said. “We love trying to alleviate those problems.”
The set ran just over 90 minutes. The 18-year big league veteran was flanked by songwriters Gary Baker and Greg Barnhill, who helped him pen 17 original songs. Baker was heavily involved in the recording process of those songs over a three-day period last year in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He hinted new music from Waino could be on the way this year, after production work is done on the ace’s vocals.
Wainwright performs country music set to benefit Big League Impact
Wainwright signed autographs and took photos with fans shortly before the event, just a day after he had visited Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up in St. Louis.
Both Cardinals manager Oli Marmol and former reliever Jason Isringhausen attended the show as friends.
“Seeing him onstage tonight doing something he loves to do was a lot of fun,” Marmol said. “What he does on the field is incredible, but the type of person and what he does off the field is extremely remarkable. To be able to come here tonight and support a great cause in Big League Impact, I’ll take any night to do that.”
Wainwright called Marmol up to the stage before a song, when he and Baker needled the skipper to give him one final at-bat in the majors. Wainwright has announced that the 2023 season will be his last.
Marmol held up one finger, to applause from the audience.
“Wait, before you leave … to swing the bat to hit a home run,” Wainwright said. “Don’t put me in to bunt.”
In one song, Wainwright made a reference to Marmol hiding Oreos under his office chair.
“I don’t know what that was about,” Marmol said, laughing.