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5:00 AM UTC

CINCINNATI — Initially stunned and saddened when he got word on Monday that Hall of Fame sports writer Rick Hummel had passed away over the weekend, manager Oliver Marmol couldn’t help but chuckle when he thought of how he would honor the legacy of a man who covered the Cardinals and Major League Baseball for 50 seasons.

For the past two seasons, Hummel — a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter honored with the Career Excellence Award at the National Baseball Hall of Fame inductions in 2006 — would playfully bicker with Marmol about baseball strategy and the disappearance of the bunt in modern-day play. Another sticking point with Hummel? The fact that Marmol often chose to wear a hoodie or a long-sleeved T-shirt during games instead of his traditional Cardinals jersey.

On Monday, with many jarred emotionally by the loss of the writer known throughout the clubhouse as “The Commish” because of his zeal for arranging NCAA Tournament bracket challenges, Marmol proudly tugged on his No. 37 jersey just for the departed Hummel.

“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,” Marmol said with a big smile across his face. “He always asked me to wear [the jersey], at least on Opening Day.

“I was super grateful of how much time he spent with me — and he didn’t need to, but he always made a point to do that,” Marmol added. “From time to time in April, when we were struggling and going through a tough time, he sent some pretty encouraging texts that meant a lot to me.”

Veteran pitcher Adam Wainwright, a Cardinal for the past 18 seasons, referred to Hummel as “a legend” in a Twitter thread remembering the writer.

“Today is a sad day for me,” Wainwright tweeted. “St. Louis lost a legend in Rick Hummel. Always fair. Always in a good mood. … The respect and trust he earned from players is a rare thing in our world. … Still looking for the best in people and writing the truth. Rest in peace, ‘Commish.'”