St. Louis Cardinals' bench coach Oliver Marmol talks to starting pitcher Johan Oviedo after he left the game in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati, Sunday, July 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Just 11 days after firing Mike Shildt, the St. Louis Cardinals promoted bench coach Oliver Marmol to fill their managerial vacancy on Monday. Marmol, 35, will be the youngest active manager in Major League Baseball, the Cardinals' youngest manager since Marty Marion in 1951 and their first manager of color since Mike González in 1940, but he's the club's third straight internal managerial hire, and his pathway to the role was quite similar to those of his two predecessors.

Like Mike Matheny, who played five seasons for the Cardinals and spent another four as a special advisor, and Shildt, who spent 15 seasons in the organization as a scout and coach before becoming the manager, Marmol has a deep knowledge of the Cardinal Way that was shaped during a 15-season climb up the organizational ladder.

Here's a breakdown of Marmol's journey from 20-year-old infielder to 35-year-old manager:


The Cardinals select Marmol — a shortstop who was highly regarded enough to be selected two picks ahead of future three-time All-Star Anthony Rizzo — out of the College of Charleston in the sixth round of the MLB Draft. He steals 11 bases and flashes plenty of patience at the plate, but he struggles to make contact, hitting .212 in 64 games between short-season Batavia and Low-A Quad Cities in his first pro season.


After posting a .203/.301/.282 career slash line over four seasons and topping out at the High-A level, Marmol is released by the Cardinals in July. Within the month, he rejoins the organization as a coach and spends the remainder of the season as an additional assistant at Batavia.


Marmol is named the hitting coach for the Cardinals' rookie-level affiliate in the Gulf Coast League and works with a trio of future major league hitters: Charlie Tilson, Breyvic Valera and Ildemaro Vargas.


After just one full season of coaching, the 25-year-old Marmol becomes the youngest manager in Minor League Baseball, taking the helm at the Cardinals' rookie-level affiliate in Johnson City, Tennessee. He leads them to a 39-28 record and a playoff appearance while overseeing the development of future major leaguers Vargas, Carson Kelly and Sam Tuivailala.


Marmol moves up again, taking over as manager at short-season State College. He has a wildly successful two-year tenure, leading the club to a 96-55 record, a pair of first-place finishes, two New York-Penn League Championship Series appearances and a 2014 league title. During his time at State College, Marmol mentors future big-leaguers Kelly, Austin Gomber, Mitch Harris, Josh Lucas, Luis Perdomo, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Edmundo Sosa, Luke Voit, David Washington and Rowan Wick.


Marmol gets his first chance to manage one of the Cardinals' full-season affiliates at High-A Palm Beach. He leads the club to a 75-63 record and a playoff appearance in his first season at the helm, then deals with some adversity in 2016 as Palm Beach struggles to a 58-79 record and a sixth-place finish. Marmol manages a flurry of future major leaguers at Palm Beach, including current Cardinals Sosa, Junior Fernández, Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson and Alex Reyes.


Marmol's rapid ascent through the coaching ranks continues as he reaches the majors at the age of 30, joining Mike Matheny's staff as first-base coach.


Shildt, the former bench coach and the scout who initially signed Marmol out of college, takes over as the full-time manager after replacing Matheny on an interim basis at midseason in 2018. He selects Marmol as his new bench coach. Marmol establishes himself as a high-profile managerial candidate, serving as Shildt's right-hand man as the Cardinals make three straight playoff appearances.


In an unexpected turn of events, the Cardinals fire Shildt, citing "philosophical differences." President of baseball operations John Mozeliak quickly affirms that internal candidates will be considered for the job, and Shildt all but endorses his former bench coach as his successor in his farewell statement, saying that Marmol has his "deepest and most trusted respect."

OCT. 25, 2021

Marmol is named the 51st manager in Cardinals history, inheriting a club that finished the 2021 season as one of the hottest in baseball and will be expected to contend for a championship in 2022. He'll be tasked with keeping the structure in place that enabled the Cardinals to play such crisp, fundamentally sound baseball in the field and on the basepaths under Shildt, and he'll also likely be asked to take the club to the next frontier in terms of implementing analytics into the game plan. Expectations will be very high as Marmol looks to improve a team that has made the playoffs in three straight seasons. He's made a habit of overachieving during his coaching career, and now he's out to exceed expectations again.

Featured Podcast

See all