A catching whiz with a cannon for an arm, Marrero was a classic example of the dictum "all field, no hit." After watching him gun down 60% of base stealers in his rookie year in 1998, St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa declared him the catcher of the future and handed him the starting job in 1999.
But regular playing time exposed the flaws in Marrero's huge, sweeping swing, and he only managed a depressing .192 average that season. Sidelined by thyroid cancer surgery and then a series of injuries the following year, Marrero spent his time reconstructing his swing, making it shorter and more compact. In 2001 he backed up Mike Matheny and displayed some improvement with his bat, upping his average to a respectable .269 while throwing out 30% of would-be base-thieves. (EPW)
Contribute your recollections of Eli Marrero by clicking here.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»March 6, 1998: Cardinals C Eli Marrero has a mass removed from his neck. Test results show the mass to be a low–grade malignancy.
»April 13, 1998:
Cardinals rookie C Eli Marrero returns to action after undergoing surgery for the removal of a malignant tumor from his neck on March 6. He hits the first pitch he sees for a triple, and also homers in the Cardinals 8–2 loss to the Giants.
»September 21, 2002:
Behind Wade Miller's 12th straight win, Houston beats the Cardinals, 6–3. Miller's streak ties a club record. Lance Berkman has a double and homer, driving in three runs, and Eli Marrero hits a home run for the 3rd straight game. Miller's batterymate Brad Ausmus collects his 1000th career hit, but also ties the NL record with his 30th GIDP of the season. Ernie Lombardi had 30 GIDP to set the mark.