02/19/07 10:00 AM ET
Veterans Committee considers Marion
Cardinals shortstop was first eighth-place hitter to win an MVP
By Lindsey Frazier / MLB.com
But Marion disproved the stereotype of his position and had a successful 13-year Major League career, all of which was spent in St. Louis, as he played for the Cardinals from 1940-50 and was a player-manager for the Browns in 1952 and '53.
Marion is one of 27 former Major League players on the 2007 Hall of Fame Veterans Committee ballot. In the 2005 Veterans election, he garnered 20 percent of the vote (16 votes) and in the 2003 election, Marion received 21 percent of the vote (17 votes). A candidate must receive 75 percent of the vote to gain election. Results of the 2007 Veterans Committee election will be announced on Feb. 27 and the induction ceremony will take place on July 29 in Cooperstown.
Marion was given the nickname "Octopus" by baseball writers because his unusually long arms looked more like tentacles as he fielded ground balls. Marion was regarded as the best defensive National League shortstop of his time, and he rarely made an error as he led the league in fielding percentage three times.
A career .263 hitter, Marion's best offensive year came in 1942, when he hit .276 and led the league in doubles with 38.
During Marion's tenure with the Cardinals, he helped St. Louis to four NL pennants and three World Series championships. He has also named to eight straight All-Star teams from 1943-50.
In 1944, Marion was the NL's Most Valuable Player, beating out the Cubs' Bill Nicholson by one vote. Marion, who hit .267 with six home runs and 63 RBIs, became the first player to win the MVP as a No. 8 hitter for his team.
While Marion teamed up with a myriad of infielders, he became close to second baseman Frank "Creepy" Crespi when the pair played together from 1940-43. Marion said after the 1941 season that Crespi was as good as any second baseman he's ever seen.
A back injury cut his playing career short, and in 1951, Marion was named manager of the Cardinals before moving across town to serve as a player-manager for the Browns each of the next two seasons, serving as the Browns' last manager in 1953. He then managed two-plus seasons with the White Sox before retiring at the end of the 1956 campaign. As a manager, he compiled a 356-372 career record.
In 1960, Marion purchased the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate, the Houston Buffs of the American Association. A few years later, he sold the team back to the Cardinals franchise.
Marion, now 89, is said to be one of the oldest living former Cardinals players.
Lindsey Frazier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.