The Cardinals and Adam Wainwright hope to come to an agreement this spring on a long-term contract extension that will keep the right-hander in St. Louis. His agent Steve Hammond will play a large part in determining whether or not that happens. Wainwright sat down with B.J. Rains for MLB Trade Rumors to discuss his personal relationship with Hammond, the man that holds his future in his hands:
“The first time Steve called to interview I had never heard of him. It was around Valentine’s Day and my girlfriend at the time who I am married to now was coming to visit me and I needed a Valentine’s Day present so I went to the mall to get her something and I completely big leagued him - I forgot to show up for our meeting. He had his feelings hurt a little bit but he came back around the second time and I said I completely forgot, I was getting something for Jenny, please forgive me, let’s go out and meet again. We went to a Cuban or Dominican place to eat dinner and just talked about what he brought to a player’s career and what he’s looking for in a client and I really liked that. He didn’t sit there and tell me how great I was for an hour straight. He just shot me straight and told me about him and we talked about golf and baseball and instantly I thought this is the guy I want to go with but logically you sit down and say but do I need to go with one of these more established, bigger agencies? Looking at his career he had represented a lot of people that I knew. He represented Chipper Jones for a time and Orel Hershiser and some big guys so I knew he had the ability to be a great agent and he was a great agent but he brought the intangibles to that I was looking for.
“What I got from Steve was more than just an agent. He was a guy that I just got a great feeling about. All things being equal, I looked at all the agents and I realized they were all great agents so I said well what is the one thing that is different that is somebody that I need to pick and Steve Hammond had that. I looked at him as somebody I respected as a father. I looked at his family life. He and I had a lot of similar interests. He’s a former player but he loves golf and tennis and ping pong and doing all those kinds of things with his boys. I just got to interact with him a little bit and I really felt like I was part of the family and I felt like he was part of my family and since that time I feel like he is part of my family. Steve has become one of my biggest spiritual mentors in my life. He’s more than an agent. He gets mad when I introduce him as my agent to other people. He’s almost more than a friend too. I really do think of him as family. He’s almost like a father figure to me or an uncle figure or a brother figure - one of those family figures. He’s just a guy that I can look to. I trust him completely. I trust him with anything I bring to the table. I trust his advice and that was something that really caught my eye. You can get a feeling of someone’s character and integrity right away when you talk to someone a lot of times and he and I just clicked.”