ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Marty Marion, the brilliant shortstop and 1944 National League MVP with the St. Louis Cardinals and a former manager of the Cardinals and St. Louis Browns, has died. He was 93.
Marion, who played on World Series title teams in 1942, '44 and '46, died Tuesday night in St. Louis, Cardinals spokesman Brian Bartow said.
The 6-2, 170-pound Marion was nicknamed the "Octopus" and "Slats" for his long-armed, rangy fielding prowess, and was considered the best shortstop in Cardinals history before Ozzie Smith joined the franchise in 1982.
Joe Torre, who also played for and managed the Cardinals, remembered Marion as the franchise's gold standard for defense. Marion batted only .267 with six homers and 63 RBIs in his MVP season, numbers that paled against teammate Stan Musial's .347 average with 12 homers and 94 RBIs, but got the nod on the basis of defense and team leadership.
"Around St. Louis there's a sense of the history of the game," Torre said. "He was the one you measured against."
Hall of Fame second baseman Red Schoendienst played alongside Marion from 1945-50 and said Marion also should have received that honor. The 88-year-old Schoendienst is a special assistant to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak and still suits up and hits fungoes daily.
"You look at his stats and everything, he should be in the Hall of Fame," Schoendienst said at the Cardinals' spring training site in Jupiter, Fla. "He never ever tried to say that he belonged in the Hall of Fame. He liked baseball, that's why he played it."
Team president Bill DeWitt III recalled Marion's title-winning teams of the 1940s.
"I think those are legendary teams and he was a big part of it," he said. "He definitely goes down as one of the great Cardinals.
Though he had a career batting average of just .263 and never batted .300, Marion was an eight-time All-Star. His career cut short by a back injury, he managed the Cardinals in 1951, then was player-manager for the Browns in 1952-53. He also managed the Chicago White Sox for part of the 1954 season and all the 1955 and '56 seasons.
Schoendienst's rookie season was 1945, the year after Marion led the way with airtight defense in a six-game World Series victory over the cross-town Browns. The Cardinals committed just one error in the series.
"It was a big break for me to come up as a rookie and play second base with him playing short," Schoendienst said. "That was good, made it easier for me."
Schoendienst said he last saw Marion about six months ago at a baseball card show.
"He's lived good and he was a hell of a ballplayer," Schoendienst said. "I guess it's time, sometimes."
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