In a press conference Monday morning the St. Louis Cardinals confirmed what had been suspected since the dismissal of former manager Mike Shildt: Oliver Marmol will be the next field manager. It is a predictable, yet interesting choice. Marmol has been part of the organization since he was drafted by the team in 2007.
Notable picks for the #Cardinals in 2007, by round:— Derrick S. Goold (@dgoold) October 25, 2021
1st -- Pete Kozma
1st -- Clayton Mortensen
3rd -- Daniel Descalso
6th -- Oliver Marmol
24th -- Sam Freeman
26th -- Tony Cruz
38th -- Adron Chambershttps://t.co/tgxc8rUqqP #MLBDraft #MLB #stlcards
In 2011 he decided to turn his attention to coaching becoming the hitting coach for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. He went on the manage the Johnson City Cardinals and then the Palm Beach Cardinals before becoming the first base coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. Marmol was previously serving as the Cardinals bench coach, much like former manager Mike Shildt before he became manager.
You'll read a lot about new #STLCards manager Oli Marmol in the coming days. And most of it will be about baseball.— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) October 25, 2021
But the first thing you should know about Oli is that he is much more than that.
From the 2014 archives: https://t.co/OSFXawoPSh pic.twitter.com/1nWFoGYNLk
His experience in the organization makes him natural fit for the manager role, especially for a Cardinals organization that seems to put an emphasis on promoting for within. What makes him an interesting choice, though, is his youth. Marmol is easily the youngest manager in the league and is actually the youngest manager to ever be hired, per Jeff Jones of the Belleville News Democrat:
I feel like this is a point worthy of emphasis: born July 2, 1986, Oliver Marmol has the most recent birthdate of any man ever hired to be a manager in Major League baseball. He’s the most recent one. The youngest ever. Mr. Millennial Manager.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) October 25, 2021
The previous youngest manager ever was Rocco Baldelli, born September 25, 1981.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) October 25, 2021
Marmol is almost five full years younger! He graduated high school in 2004!
The Cardinals are confident in Marmol and that faith in the up-and-coming coach apparently made the organization more comfortable in parting ways with Shildt. Whatever the differences that arose between Shildt and the Cardinals were, according to President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak, sudden and substantial, leading the Cardinals to quickly pivot to Marmol.
Mozeliak says “we had internal issues we felt we could not resolve,” regarding Mike Shildt, acknowledging that the team introduced confusion as he reads from a prepared statement.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) October 25, 2021
We may not ever find out *precisely* what happened but it’s now very clear that whatever disagreements came out of the end of year meetings became significant, substantial, and in the eyes of the organization, insurmountable.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) October 25, 2021
Mo concedes that part of the rationale for making the switch away from Shildt was knowing Marmol was an option, could continue on the same path with continuity.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) October 25, 2021
Increasingly it sounds less like a job search and more like, “would we prefer Oli?"
One early observation from this morning: it became increasingly clear throughout that this was less of a "search" and more of a "How well is Marmol going to fit"— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) October 25, 2021
Sources indicated from the start Marmol was the preferred candidate. 11 days after Shildt's firing, here he is.
“We believe Oli possesses strong managerial skills that will allow for the Cardinals’ success long into the future,” Bill DeWitt, Jr. says.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) October 25, 2021
In his remarks Marmol spoke highly of his predecessor, who had previously spoke highly of him. Marmol hopes to continue with the improvements to baserunning and defense that began after Shildt took over at the helm. Per Fangraphs, since Shildt’s first full year as manager in 2019 the Cardinals have been the best team defensively per UZR with 76.9, ahead of the second place Oakland Athletics by 19.4. They also lead the league in Defensive Runs Saved during that time with 174. The Cardinals have been the second best baserunning team during that time as well.
Marmol says he talked to Shildt and received his support for taking the job — as Shildt himself acknowledged when he spoke up for Marmol a week ago today.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) October 25, 2021
Marmol says he’ll take from Shildt “attention to detail,” mentioning the improvements in baserunning and defense that occurred under Shildt.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) October 25, 2021
Marmol is the first person of color to be the full-time manager of the Cardinals and brings an added benefit of being a native Spanish speaker. Per Zach Silver of MLB.com, Marmol finds this distinction “extremely meaningful”.
Oli, a native Spanish speaker, is the 2nd person of color to manage the Cardinals and the 1st on a full-time basis.— Zachary Silver (@zachsilver) October 25, 2021
"Some of the neighborhoods we lived in early on in Miami, these opportunities don't come across the table to the majority of the people that grew up like that." pic.twitter.com/DRvvw2bqcr
There is a lot to like about Oli Marmol. He knows the organization and players, he has the confidence of the front office and ownership, and his youth and background could serve as a shot in the arm to a franchise that has long been thought — sometimes unfairly — to be a little stuck in the past. Perhaps Oliver Marmol is the guy to blend the tradition of the brilliant baseball minds of the past like George Kissell with some fresh ideas the game is begging to see. 2022 should be an interesting year for the Cardinals.
“We will prepare in a way to take our shot at a championship, and anything less than that will be a disappointment,” Marmol says.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) October 25, 2021
The 51st manager of the St. Louis Cardinals pic.twitter.com/QYiqRr5pY0— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) October 25, 2021
Please welcome our new manager, Oliver 'Oli' Marmol! pic.twitter.com/CVyax3J0bw— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 25, 2021