Cards All-Time Top 40 – Marty Marion #24

The Top 40 countdown of the greatest St. Louis Cardinals of all time continues with their MVP shortstop from the 1940's, Marty Marion.

Martin Whiteford Marion

The Basics




Total Yrs

Yrs in StL








1940-'50, '52-'53 






The Awards

Hall of Fame

Retired #

World Champ



Cy Young

Gold Glove








Note: All stats and awards listed are for years as a Cardinal only.
Marion's career stats available from

Voter Comments

Rob Rains (15): Until Ozzie Smith came along, Marion was easily the greatest defensive shortstop in Cardinals' history and among the best in baseball history. In 1944 he became the first player to win a league MVP award primarily for his defensive ability, and if they had awarded Gold Gloves when he played Marion would have been a multiple winner.

A seven-time All-Star, Marion admitted he was a terrible hitter when he reached the majors, but worked to become decent, and on a team loaded with offensive stars in the 1940s, that was all he needed to be. Many people believe he should be in the Hall of Fame based on his defensive skills alone.

Jerry Modene (16): Marion was unquestionably the greatest defensive shortstop in history (with the possible exception of Honus Wagner and maybe Leo Durocher) in those pre-Ozzie days; he may be the only player ever to win an MVP award with his glove (1944).

How I wish the voters of 1987 had seen fit to give Ozzie Smith the MVP in 1987 instead of the last-place-Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson, but the voters just couldn't give the MVP to a guy with no home runs, even though Ozzie set career highs that year with a .303 batting average and 75 RBI. At least Marion managed to hit six home runs in 1944, his career high.

Ray Mileur (40): A St. Louis icon, Marty Marion is one of a few players ever win the NL MVP award based primarily for their defense. In 1944, Martin hit .267 with 26 doubles, two triples and six home runs, scoring 50 runs and knocking in another 63. Not the numbers you expect from an MVP, but that Martin beat out Bill Nicholson, who hit 33 home runs for the award is a testament to how great he played at short.

Considered the best shortstop of his time, Marion was the anchor of one of the best defenses in Cardinal history, winning four National League pennants and three world championships.

A seven-time All-Star, Marion was the Sporting News Major League Player of the Year in 1944, an amazing feat for a light-hitting shortstop.

Marion's 1,492 games at short ranks second on the Cardinals all-time list behind Ozzie Smith's 1,929 games.

Brian Walton (23): Much has been said about his excellent 1944 season, and most appropriately so, yet Marion was amazingly consistent for a decade. He ranked in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting six consecutive years and made eight straight All-Star Game appearances because of his glove. Marion's results with the bat were most consistent, too. He generally hit about .270 and drove in 50 runs and didn't waver much from that.

Playing for the Cardinals in four World Series, with his club winning three times, Marion picked his spots well. Though not being known as a power-hitting RBI man, half of Marion's post-season hits went for extra bases. He drove in 11 Series runs with those 18 October safeties despite having just a .231 postseason average overall.

Marion was a prime product of the renowned Cardinals farm system, having signed after attending a tryout camp in Georgia as a high schooler in 1935. "Slats", or "The Octopus", as his teammates labeled him due to his long arms and tall, lanky frame, would be a fixture in the organization for fifteen more years. Marion, now 89, is the second-oldest living former Cardinals player after Don Gutteridge, age 94.

Voter Comments Key: Voter (Individual Ranking); NR = Not Rated

Master List: To see our entire list of the greatest 40 Cardinals players of all-time as they are unveiled daily, click here.

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