Marion, Martin Whiteford

Marion, Martin Whiteford

December 1, 1917–March 15, 2011

Marion made his debut with the Cardinals on April 16, 1940, and was their regular shortstop from 1940 to 1950.

Baseball player. Marion was born in Richburg (Chester County) on December 1, 1917, and grew up in the Atlanta, Georgia, area. He is the son of John and Virginia Marion and a collateral descendant of Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox” of the Revolutionary War. He married Mary Dallas in 1937 and has four daughters. He spent one year at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1935 and then played briefly for Chattanooga in the Southern League. He then signed a four-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals that paid $5,000 in its final year; both the size and the length of the contract were unheard of for a minor-league player at the time. He played with Huntington, West Virginia, in 1936 and then for Rochester, New York, in the International League from 1937 to 1939.

Marion made his debut with the Cardinals on April 16, 1940, and was their regular shortstop from 1940 to 1950. He was known as “the Octopus” due to his extremely long arms, and he also went by the nickname “Slats” because he was six feet two inches tall and weighed 170 pounds. He was a seven-time All Star and was voted Most Valuable Player and Player of the Year in 1944. He won four pennants and three World Championships in his ten years with the St. Louis Cardinals. Marion played in 1,572 games, collected 1,448 hits, and was a lifetime .263 hitter with 36 home runs and 624 RBI. Although he did not hit for power or for a high average, he developed a reputation as a clutch hitter. He was also considered the best fielding shortstop of his generation.

A back injury kept Marion from playing in the 1951 season, but he served as manager of the Cardinals that year. He then moved over to the St. Louis Browns and served as their player-manager in 1952 and 1953. Named manager of the Chicago White Sox in the final weeks of the 1954 season, Marion piloted them until the end of the 1956 season. He had a 356–372 record as a manager with three third-place finishes in five full seasons. He purchased the St. Louis Cardinals AAA franchise in Houston in the Texas League in 1960 and ran it for several years. Marion also managed the St. Louis Stadium Club business for many years.

Moffi, Larry. This Side of Cooperstown: An Oral History of Major League Baseball in the 1950s. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1996.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Marion, Martin Whiteford
  • Coverage December 1, 1917–March 15, 2011
  • Author
  • Keywords Baseball player, collateral descendant of Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox”, debut with the Cardinals on April 16, 1940, nickname “Slats”,
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date July 13, 2024
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 11, 2022
Go to Top