Marty Marion, an eight-time All-Star who spent 11 seasons as the Cardinals’ starting shortstop and won the NL MVP in 1944, has passed away at age 94.
Marion’s reputation was always much bigger than his numbers, even during his MVP season, as he hit just .267 with six homers and a .686 OPS that ranked 64th in the league. Despite that he beat out various sluggers, including teammate Stan Musial, and also finished among the top 10 in MVP voting with similarly modest numbers in 1942 and 1945.
Nicknamed “The Octopus” for his prowess defensively, Marion was one of the first “big” shortstops at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds. In fact, prior to his debut in 1940 there were just three shortstops in baseball history listed as taller than six feet.
St. Louis had zero losing seasons with Marion at shortstop and won three World Series titles.
You may recall that, back in May, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor got into a fight with Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Bautista slid late into second base, with which Odor took issue, so he punched Bautista in the face. That earned him a seven-game suspension.
With one out in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against the Indians, Odor reached on a fielding error by first baseman Mike Napoli. Jonathan Lucroy then hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Odor slid hard into Jason Kipnis covering second base.
Kipnis, hearkening back to the Bautista fight, backed up as if he were afraid Odor would punch him. Odor got a good chuckle out of it, but it was the Rangers’ bench which perhaps enjoyed the joke most. The Rangers’ broadcast showing Adrian Beltre cracking up and telling his other teammates what had happened.
Rangers outfielder Carlos Gomez made his debut with his new team on Thursday night after a brief stint with Triple-A Round Rock. He started in left field and was inserted into the number eight spot in the Rangers’ batting order.
The Rangers made two quick outs in the bottom of the second inning, with Adrian Beltre grounding out and Rougned Odor striking out. But the inning was kept alive as Jonathan Lucroy singled and advanced to second base on a wild pitch, and then Mitch Moreland walked to bring up Gomez.
Gomez took a first-pitch cutter from Josh Tomlin for a ball, then jumped on another cut fastball, drilling it for a no-doubt three-run home run into the seats in left field at Globe Life Park in Arlington (#29 out of 30 in Craig’s ballpark name rankings).
Here’s the video.