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Cards Skipper Wears Full Uni to Honor Fallen Sportswriter

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There was an unusual sight during last night’s Cards/Reds game in Cincinnati: St. Looie manager Oliver Marmol wore a jersey.

Here’s the story: Marmol, who is in his second season skippering the Cardinals (and who, at 36, is by far the youngest manager in the bigs), rarely wears the full uniform. He did wear a jersey for the opening series of this season and for last year’s National League Wild Card Game, but otherwise he almost always wears a hoodie or pullover. In fact, just yesterday we had a Ticker item about how he’d begun wearing the Cards’ new uni ad on the sleeve of his hoodie.

That sartorial proclivity did not sit well with longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball columnist Rick “The Commish” Hummel, who died on Saturday. According to this obituary:

Current Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol and Hummel had multiple running jokes in recent seasons, such as Hummel’s preference that the manager not hide his jersey under a hoodie when making a pitching change. (“They gave you a number for a reason,” he explained.)

Similarly, per this article:

In Marmol’s office, Hummel found one of his favorite things to do — talk baseball — and a manager eager to parry and riposte with the best of questions from the best of ballwriters.

Even about the jersey.

Hummel felt the manager needed to wear and show his jersey, not hide it under a hoodie — or hide the fact he wasn’t wearing it at all.

So last night, Marmol paid tribute to Hummel the best way he knew how — by wearing his jersey:

After the game, Marmol said:

“Once I got the phone call [informing me of Hummel’s passing], it was pretty clear to me to make sure that I wore [the jersey] tonight. He always asked me to wear it, at least on Opening Day.”

Also: The Reds had some really nice gestures in the press box for Hummel, and also for Cards radio broadcaster Mike Shannon, who recently died:
Classy moves there by the Reds — well done.
(My thanks to Lee Wilds and Erik Spoonmore for bringing this situation to my attention.)

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Comments (29)

    Those hoodies look slovenly. Show your numbers with PRIDE, managers and coaches.

    Agree. The slobification of America continues. Sacrifice a good look for the sake of “comfort.” It’s why we also have basketball coaches in sloppy golf leisurewear instead of suits.

    I’d agree that there is a slobification going on. However I am not sure why we ever expected basketball coaches to wear business suits. Wearing khakis, sneakers, and a golf shirt makes sense for all coaches. You dress for the profession you are in. I don’t think we expect construction supervisors to wear suits. The supervisors dress slightly more “up” then the construction crew themselves. The same would go for any sports coach. A sporting event isn’t a formal setting, their job is not formal in any sense.
    Now if you want to get on the soapbox to complain about office workers wearing tshirts/hoodies and crocs in the workplace, that is a legitimate gripe.

    I want to make it clear that I prefer to see MLB managers (and MLB coaches, for that matter) in full uniform.

    HOWEVER, I want to suggest that there may be more going on here than “slobification.” To wit: Today’s MLB skippers don’t have the imperious, top-down attitude of previous managers. They’re more likely to have a “one of the guys” approach, because they think it leads to better communication with their players. I think the more casual approach to game attire may be a reflection of that.

    I’m not saying I like it; I’m just saying there may be more to it than just personal style.

    Let’s start with people who got in public in their pajamas and slippers, and work out from there. There are plenty of clothes that are comfortable and look fashionable.

    Whatever happened to taking pride in your appearance? My dad went to work in a suit, and I wear suits to work – partly as an homage to him and the men who trained me, but also it’s because it looks appropriate. I’m 47, so I am not fully an Old yet.
    I’m all for comfort but people have taken it to a ridiculous extreme. You’re telling the world how to view you without saying a word by how you dress and first impressions do matter.

    I hear you MJ, I am 59 years old so I am from a different era but my father wore a football uniform for 10 seasons, and as crazy as he was, he always said the same thing when I would watch hip pad up. He would say always wear your uniform with pride, as an adult not many guys get to wear a football uniform for a living, you only get so many opportunities to wear it then it is time for someone else to come along. Tuck the jersey in, pull the socks up and look sharp out there Jimbo (I can hear it now), he always took a lot of pride in how he looked wearing his uniform. Once he got into an argument with my mother because she said his jersey was too tight.
    I have a nephew who is a backup college QB, I showed him how he should look in his uniform and he always wears it perfect, no extra bling.

    There’s a letter kicking around on the internet somewhere from Conn Smythe to Leafs ticketholders in the 1960s bemoaning that the fans are going more casual and aren’t wearing hats with their suits anymore. I’ll see if I can find it, its hilariously dated.

    It didn’t work out so good for Abe Lincoln so I’m gonna skip the top hat, as well. But seriously, that’s pretty funny if that really happened. Of course it wasn’t limited to sports as you can also find ppl flying on commercial airlines wearing shorts and flip-flops.

    I missed the memo. Why did managers stop wearing jerseys? What’s the point? Is it another lame MLB effort to supposedly sell hoodie merch? Can anybody fill me in?

    Some skippers just don’t want to bother with the full uni and prefer a more casual look.

    It’s by no means universal, however: link

    Rick Hummel was from my hometown. I grew up reading his Cardinal articles like many other Cardinal fans did. It was great reading all the tributes to him yesterday. He will surely be missed

    I don’t understand why someone who doesn’t play the game needs to be in a uniform with a number.

    Then again, I’m someone who hates lawyer black and will gladly wear differently-colored sport coats to court, and that gets many colleagues angry.

    But it goes back to the days when they DID play, and tradition dies hard in baseball.

    And not just when they played. Even today, some managers hit infield practice and/or pitch BP. It looks better to wear a uniform when they’re on the field doing actual baseball activities.

    I absolutely love it. I think baseball is the only sport in which the manager wearing the playing uniform is practical, but I actually think all leagues should have a uniform for their coaching staff. It’s kind of that way in the NFL, it’s not as strict but it seems most coaches wear the same sideline team gear and I know they do have boundaries around what they can wear. NBA from what I can tell (I don’t watch much) those Nike half zip pullovers are becoming standard. The NHL is the last league in which the head coach still wears a suit and I don’t like it. Rest of the coaches and trainers wear team branded pants and jackets, let the head coaches too.

    Interesting timing as today The Athletic (paywall) is running an article about Buck Showalter’s fashion choices.


    Does anybody remember a bit in SPORT magazine about baseball managers wearing uniforms.? I believe it was in the early to mid 1990’s. It had Phil Jackson in a Bulls uni, Mike Holmgren in a Packers uni (full pads), and Scotty Bowman in a Red Wings uni (goalie clad).

    I’m with the Commish on this one. Managers should have to go full uni. Also against the pajama pants. Knickers only. I’m agnostic on stockings vs stirrups, but whatever you put around your ankle area, it’s part of the uniform and it should be visible. Two teams are even named after that part of the uniform! Also make the uniforms flannel again (okay, that last idea is a joke).

    From the perspective of honoring those who deserve honor: do it while they are alive. Don’t wait to tell someone how much they mean to you! (I’m not saying that didn’t happen here, more of a PSA to the procrastinators among us.)

    Sorry if this has been addressed before, but isn’t that recursion, rather than regression?

    The St. Louis Cardinals uniform is arguably one of the most prestigious in all of professional sports. It certainly has longstanding tradition and rich in history. Oliver Marmol should be honored, counting his blessings each day that he is awarded the opportunity to don the jersey in my humble opinion.

    As a former sportswriter, I am extremely pleased, and a bit teary-eyed, to see one of the greats receive this recognition. I will save arguing about hoodies and jerseys for another day.

    Baseball teams should always have at least 2 mascots: one in a furry fantasy suit with a huge head that smiles or grins and one in a full uniform with a pot belly, short (bowed is a bonus) legs, constantly chewing anything, scribbling down unnecessary stuff and with a very grumpy look on his face called the manager of the team. Tufts of grey hair sticking out from under the hat is optional. Arguing with refs and kicking dirt before getting tossed out is mandatory. I cannot stand cool and collected baseball managers who look fit, athletic and ready to substitute. And wear a players hoodie. Very confusing.

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