Marrero making his own name at MSU

Elih Marrero made 35 starts behind the plate for the Bulldogs as a true freshman. (Mississippi State)

Elih Marrero made 35 starts behind the plate for the Bulldogs as a true freshman. (Mississippi State)

Elih Marrero has already lived a lifetime of baseball during his 19 years of existence.

The son of a former Major League catcher and also his namesake, Marrero grew up around the game and rubbed elbows with future Hall of Famers on a daily basis in stadiums around the country.

From an early age Marrero began studying his father, Eli, behind the plate while he spent nine seasons in the big leagues with the Cardinals, Braves, Royals, Orioles, Rockies and Mets.

“I’ve always wanted to catch since I was little,” Elih Marrero said. “I’d watched my dad and how much he loves it. I started catching when I was about nine and ever since then I’ve fallen in love with it too.”

However, Elih Marrero never wanted to be just like his father when he grew up. He wanted to be a more improved version.

“I’ve always told my dad that my goal is to be better than him,” Marrero said. “But I’m not thinking about that most of the time. It’s not about doing things to be better than him, it’s more about what I am doing for my career and helping my team win.”

Winning is something Elih Marrero helped Mississippi State do this past spring. As a true freshman, Elih Marrero started 36 games and helped lead the Diamond Dogs to their first regular season SEC Championship since 1989.

Elih Marrero batted .233 with six doubles, a triple, 12 RBIs and two stolen bases during the 43 games in which he played while also managing a pitching staff that consisted of seven pitchers currently playing in professional baseball.

And after each one of those outings there was a call to his father, who is now the manager of the Daytona Tortugas – a Class-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.

“I always talk to my dad,” Marrero said. “I call him after every game and we’ll talk about my swing and how things went that day. He always watches my games on TV and he loves that. It used to be the other way around.”

It was his father’s Reds organization who drafted the switch-hitting Miami native in the 29th round of the 2015 MLB Draft but chose instead to come to college.

“As a young kid, it’s everyone’s dream to play professional baseball,” Marrero said. “But sometimes things get backtracked and God has another plan. His plan for me was to come to Mississippi State and help my team win a national championship.”

Elih Marrero was a four-time Perfect Game All-American in high school and helped USA Baseball claim a gold medal in the Pan American Games in Mexico. As a senior at Coral Gables, the 5-foot-7, 200-pounder hit .320 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.

He drew offers from nearby programs like Miami and Florida Atlantic but is glad he expanded his horizons and chose to come to Starkville.

“I came on a visit and just fell in love with it,” Marrero said. “I saw the Palmeiro (Center), saw the field and all the coaches treated me like family. Everyone here made me feel like I was at home and that really made me feel great. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”

This summer, Marrero played in nine games with the Bourne Braves in the prestigious Cape Cod League where he hit .214.

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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