The man I believe was the second-oldest* living former St. Louis Cardinals player, Marty Marion, passed away of natural causes Tuesday evening at the age of 93. The news was confirmed by a Cardinals official on Wednesday morning.
Marion, a shortstop, made his MLB debut on April 16, 1940, just short of 61 years ago. That is a year and a half prior to now-90-year-old Stan Musial’s September 1941 arrival in the bigs.
The defensive wizard known as “Slats” and “The Octopus” was along with Musial one of the few remaining and most prominent links remaining to the glory decade of the 1940’s. That was a period during which their St. Louis clubs played in four World Series, winning three.
Prior to the arrival of Ozzie Smith on the scene in 1982, Marion held the undisputed crown as the club’s greatest shortstop ever. He was also recognized as the best defensive shortstop of his era – pre-television and pre-Gold Glove Awards.
Marion earned nine consecutive All-Star Game invitations and led the National League shortstops in fielding percentage three times, including a career-best .981 mark in 1947. He was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1944.
After managing the Cardinals in 1951, he played for and managed the St. Louis Browns and was also skipper of the Chicago White Sox. Later, Marion owned the Houston Buffs of the minor league American Association.
For further details on Marion’s career, refer to my 2008 article entitled, “Marion at 91: Still Waiting for the Hall”.
* I believe Freddy Schmidt (DOB 2/9/16, age 95) is the oldest living former Cardinal player. Details here.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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