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Off the Cuff with Claiborne: Oliver Marmol

Oliver Marmol is no stranger to the St. Louis Cardinals. He was drafted by the Redbirds in 2007, and after playing on the team for four seasons, he started working his way up the organization as a coach and manager in the minors. This year, at 35, he became the youngest active manager in Major League Baseball history.

How did you decide to take the Cardinals manager position?
Saying it’s an honor is an understatement. The Cardinals are not only among the best organizations in baseball but all of sports. It’s an absolute privilege to be able to manage this club and help lead it. When the opportunity was presented, I talked it through with my wife, and we determined what the next stage of our careers would look like. I don’t want to say it was an easy decision, but this type of opportunity doesn’t come up very often, and we felt like it was the right time.

No one succeeds by themselves. Who is on the team behind you?
My wife for sure. We’ve been doing this together in the minor and big leagues for about 15 years now. She’s definitely one of the biggest parts of me doing this and doing it well. I’ve also had mentors outside of baseball who have helped me grow in my leadership style as well.

What’s one thing you appreciated while in the minor league and one thing that makes you grateful you’re in the majors?
Setting up the fields for spring training was definitely a grind. Coaching and managing at the lower levels, you learn a lot and get to have an influence on young players. You get these new draft picks, and it’s you who introduces them to the Cardinals’ history, tradition and winning attitude. I’m super thankful to have been that first professional influence in their lives and help them pave the way for success.

How long have you and your wife, Amber, been together—and who liked whom first?
It’s been about 19 years. I think it was mutual. I was a junior in high school, and she was a senior. Our friends ran in the same circles, so we got to know each other and started hanging out.

She liked you because you: A. Are a good cook. B. Are smart and funny C. Have an “it factor.” D. None of the above?
I think her answer might be different, but I’ll go with the “it factor” and smart and funny.

You’ve been in St. Louis for a few years now. What do you like about the city?
It’s very family-oriented, especially coming from Jupiter, Florida, where it’s more of a vacation spot and very seasonal. St. Louis promotes more of a family environment. Having a four- and two-year-old, we’ve really enjoyed that atmosphere. With the museums and zoo, there are so many different offerings to help them grow.

Are you a fashion guy, or does somebody help you with your wardrobe?
I wouldn’t say I’m not a fashion guy, but my style isn’t over the top. I dress myself, but I’ll definitely have to step up my game now.

Best baseball city to go to?

Best vacation spot?
We’ve enjoyed going down to the Bahamas.

If you were not in the business of baseball, what would you be doing?
I would probably in be in the corporate world running a business.

Tell me one famous person you have met in baseball who you were surprised knew you?
I’m going to go with Bob Gibson.

When not coaching, managing or thinking about baseball, Ollie Marmol likes to do what?
I don’t really have any hobbies. I don’t like to golf or play tennis. I get excited about business. My wife and I have been involved with several businesses early on. She runs a start-up at the moment. If we aren’t spending time with the family, we’re neck deep in business.

As the Cardinals manager, what are you looking forward to?
It comes down to two things: the responsibility to win and the responsibility to have an impact on the community. I’m looking forward to both. I want to dive into St. Louis and be an influence on some of the underserved communities here. For my wife and I, that’s the heartbeat of everything we do. Being able to jump in and see how I can help is something I’m super passionate about.

What’s the best advice you’ve received in baseball?
It’s a game. Enjoy it.

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