The Southern Illinois Miners announce that third baseman Steve Marino has decided to retire from professional baseball, ending a five-year Frontier League career, the last three years of which were spent with the Miners.
The Lake Grove, New York native joined the Miners as a free agent in 2014 after playing two seasons for the Evansville Otters. He would start nearly every game at third base for the next three years, missing just six total regular season games in that span while not missing a single game in his last two years in a Southern Illinois uniform. His best professional season came in 2016 for the Miners, batting .288 with career-best totals of 23 doubles, 16 home runs and 79 RBIs, earning him both midseason and postseason all-star honors at third base.
An outstanding defender at the "hot corner," Marino was also a leader in the clubhouse, and was named the Miners' first-ever captain this past season. He finishes his career ranking in the Miners' career top-10 in 12 different statistical categories, including second in games played (282) and RBIs (174), third in at-bats (1,048), doubles (59), homers (30) and extra-base hits (94), and fourth in total hits (278).
"Steve Marino will be remembered not only as a tremendous Miners player, but as one of the great character guys to put on our uniform," Miners manager Mike Pinto said. "He certainly had some big hits for us as a player, including a walk off home run to win the 2015 Division Championship. His leadership in the clubhouse has also been critical to our success the last few years. More importantly, his representation of the Miners organization in the community will be remembered by the people he met and the children he connected to. He will be a tremendous coach in college and will always be considered part of the Miners Family."
"Playing for the Miners was the best experience of my entire life," Marino said. "I want to thank John and Jayne Simmons, and especially Mike Pinto for giving me the opportunity to play for such a classy and professional organization. Being able to play baseball in such a wonderful ballpark and city is a privilege I will never take for granted. I have memories and relationships that will last a lifetime and will always consider the Miners coaches and front office family."
"I can't thank every single Miners fan enough for their endless support over the three seasons I played in Marion, Marino added. "Their kindness, passion and loyalty were more than I could have asked for. The friendships I've made with so many of them mean so much to me. They all welcomed me into their families and community from day one and I am truly honored to have played in front of such amazing people. I will certainly be back to enjoy some Miners baseball in the future, but this time I'll just have a little bit different view of Rent One Park."
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The Southern Illinois Miners are the 2016 Frontier League West Division Champions, the 2014 and 2015 Frontier League East Division Champions and the 2012 Frontier League Champions. They have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year award three times since their inception, and also set a new Frontier League attendance record in 2007, their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the Rent One Park box office at (618) 998-8499. For any additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.