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Oliver Marmol takes over as St. Louis Cardinals manager

As Oliver Marmol transitioned into a coaching career with the St. Louis Cardinals, it became clear he had the potential to become a big league manager one day. That day has arrived — a little earlier than expected.

The 35-year-old Marmol was promoted from bench coach to the majors’ youngest manager on Monday, taking over the Cardinals almost two weeks after Mike Shildt was fired in a surprise move by one of baseball’s most stable franchises.

“I really felt like Oli was going to be a major league manager at some point. I did not think it was necessarily going to be 2022,” said John Mozeliak, the president of baseball operations for the Cardinals.

Marmol is the team’s youngest manager since Marty Marion at age 34 in 1951. Marmol, a New Jersey native who traces his lineage to the Dominican Republic. Cuban-born Mike González managed the team for parts of the 1938 and 1940 seasons.

“Some of the neighborhoods we lived in early on … these opportunities don’t come across the table to the majority of the people that grew up like that,” Marmol said. “For them to be able to identify and see someone of color in a position of leadership, especially for a franchise, a winning franchise, one with a history that the St. Louis Cardinals has, is extremely meaningful.”

Marmol was picked by St. Louis in the sixth round of the 2007 amateur draft out of the College of Charleston, but his playing career stalled at Class A Palm Beach. After coaching and managing in the minors, he joined the Cardinals’ major league staff in 2017 as the first base coach.

Marmol takes over a club that expects to contend again after finishing second in the NL Central behind Milwaukee. Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina, both older than their new manager, are signed for next season, and key sluggers Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are expected to help anchor the lineup.

“A championship is the goal, and anything less than that, it is a disappointment,” Marmol said. “This year, in 2022, is no different.”

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