If Marty Marion is elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, it will be because he was perhaps the finest-fielding shortstop of the 1940s, a starter on Cardinals teams that won four pennants and three World Series titles and a winner of the 1944 National League Most Valuable Player Award.
Marion wasn’t known for his hitting _ he usually batted in the seventh and eighth spots in the order during a 13-year big-league career _ but much like another Cardinals standout shortstop, Ozzie Smith, Marion worked to enhance his value at the plate.
...With a .263 career batting average and 1,448 hits in 11 seasons with the Cardinals and two with the Browns, offensive numbers alone won’t qualify Marion for the Hall of Fame, but his batting shouldn’t disqualify him either.
In 1942, his third season with the Cardinals, Marion, a right-handed batter, initially struggled at the plate so badly that some wondered whether he could remain in the big leagues. Though he was the everyday shortstop, he was hitting .188 on May 31 that season.
Years later, Marion explained to St. Louis writer Bob Broeg how he improved as a hitter. “I began studying hitting on my own, changing my batting stance, observing the pitchers, laying off bad pitches and hitting more to right field,” Marion said.
Posted: November 10, 2012 at 10:48 AM | 27 comment(s)
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