Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Marvin Owen

Marvin James Owen was born on 22 March, 1906 in Agnew, California, USA and died on 22 June, 1991 at the age of 85 in Mountain View, California, USA having suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Marvin was an American third baseman in Major League Baseball. Marvin played 9 seasons in the American League with the Detroit Tigers (1931; 1933-37), Chicago White Sox (1938-39), and Boston Red Sox (1940).

Marvin played college baseball for the Santa Clara Broncos. After he joined the Tigers in 1931, Owen played a full season in the minor leagues before rejoining the team in 1933.

The Detroit infield in the mid-1930s was one of the best-hitting combinations in MLB history. With Hank Greenberg at first, Charlie Gehringer at second, Billy Rogell at shortstop, and Owen at third, the 1934 Tigers infield collected 769 hits’ (214 by Gehringer, 201 by Greenberg, 179 by Owen and 175 by Rogell), 462 RBIs (139 by Greenberg, 127 by Gehringer, 100 by Rogell, and 96 by Owen), 179 doubles (63 by Greenberg, 50 by Gehringer, 34 by Owen and 32 by Rogell). 3 members of the 1934 Tigers infield (Gehringer, Owen and Rogell) played in all 154 games, and the fourth (Greenberg) played in 153. Led by the hard hitting infield, the Tigers won the American League in both 1934 and 1935.

In Game 7 of the 1934 World Series at Navin Field, Joe Medwick tripled in the 6th inning with the score 7-0. On the play, Marvin was knocked down by a hard slide at third and both players fought. The incident and subsequent fan reaction toward Medwick forced Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis to remove Medwick from the game. Marvin batted just .069 (2-29) in the Series and would again bat a lowly .050 (1-20) in the 1935 World Series, in which the Tigers defeated the Chicago Cubs in 6 games. Marvin managed to set a post-season record of most consecutive plate appearances between hits 31.

In 1936, Marvin batted .295 with 105 RBI. Marvin was traded to the White Sox before the 1938 season and finished his playing career with the Red Sox in 1940. During his career, he batted .275 in 1,011 games with 1,040 hits and 31 home runs.

Marvin was also a good fielder, leading American League third baseman in putouts in 1934 (202) and 1936 (190). No Tiger third baseman since 1934 (not Pinky Higgins, George Kell, Don Wert, Aurelio Rodriguez, Travis Fryman or Brandon Inge) has had as many putouts as Owen’s 202 in 1934. Marvin also led AL third basemen in fielding percentage in 1937 (.970) and in double plays in 1936 (28). Marvin was involved in a career high 33 double plays at third base in 1934. Marvin’s career high in assists was 305 in 1938 with the White Sox.

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