Whiteford Marion was the Cardinals' shortstop, nobody criticized him. He was
generally considered the best shortstop in the game and everybody told him so,
but since he's become a manager, he's been hired and fired a couple of times
and accused of having no guts, being a softie and too nice a guy.
bringing the Cardinals into third place [in 1951] they fired me." Marion
still smarts when he talks about it. "They said I wasn't aggressive enough
and didn't go out and argue with the umpire and get kicked out of a ball
game.... It's the easiest thing in the world to get kicked out of a ball game.
The problem is to stay in.
"A manager is
expendable. He's fired because you can't fire all the players, and to show
you're doing something to help the club win, you get rid of the manager, which
is convenient, but not always sound."
He got his second
pink slip as a manager when the St. Louis Browns, whom he managed in '52 and
'53, moved to Baltimore. Marion was left behind because Arthur Ehlers, the
Orioles' general manager, felt that "unfortunately Marty impressed me as
having a defeatist attitude."
too, in Marion's long, lean innards. "It's a funny thing," he defended
himself, "in football, in the beginning of each season, the coaches always
say they aren't going to win. If a baseball manager does that, they say he has
a defeatist attitude."
swallowing his pride, Marion became an infield coach for the White Sox. There
was less glory, less money, and there were fewer headaches connected with the
job, but Marion wasn't to be aspirinless for long. That fall, when Paul
Richards left the ball club to run the Baltimore Orioles, Chuck Comiskey
reached into the infield and gave his coach the managerial berth.
discussed the job," Comiskey said recently, "Marty said to me, I don't
know whether you're going to like me or I'm going to like managing the White
Sox,' but from what I had seen of Marty's handling of the infielders and his
over-all disposition, and the way the kids seemed to flock to him as a leader,
I knew I liked him. He has a good philosophy. He believes that any boy who's in
a major league club knows how to play baseball and wants to win. He knows what
he wants to do and he doesn't jump into any quick decisions, but he can crack
the whip when he wants to. He's quiet but firm.
when the team was bogging down, Marty called the men together and told them
that after night games they had to be in their rooms within two hours and after
day games they had to be in by midnight. 'If you're out after those hours,
you're fining yourself $100.' Two weeks later, three boys came in late. Marty
didn't browbeat them. He just said, 'Gentlemen, you know the rule. You're
fining yourselves!' "
Comiskey was so
delighted with Marion's disposition, and the fact that he got the White Sox
breathing down the Yankees' neck in the pennant race (the Sox haven't won a
pennant since 1919), that he signed him to a straight two-year contract through
This vote of
confidence has not gone unnoticed by Manager Marion.