The Southern Illinois Miners announce that hitting and third base coach Steve Marino is retiring from the coaching staff to pursue a career in law enforcement with the Illinois State Police.
A Long Island, New York native, Marino came to the Miners initially as a free agent signing in 2014, his third season as a professional. He proceeded to become one of the most-instrumental players in recent team history, helping lead Southern Illinois become the second franchise in Frontier League history to win three straight division titles (2014-16) and the first in league annals to win 60 or more games in three consecutive seasons. After hitting a memorable walk-off home run to clinch the East Division title for the club in 2015, he was the league's Postseason All-Star third baseman in 2016, batting .288 with career-best totals of 23 doubles, 16 home runs, and 79 RBIs. For his career, Marino played in 282 of a possible 288 regular season games, all at third base, and was named the first (and, to date, only) captain of the Miners in 2016.
After beginning his coaching career the following season at his alma mater, Stony Brook University in New York, Marino returned to the Miners in 2018 as the team's hitting coach, where he served for the last two seasons. In 2019, under Marino's guidance, the Miners finished with a Frontier League-best 824 hits as well as the league's second-highest team batting average (.258). Southern Illinois also ranked second in the circuit in doubles (163) and fourth in runs scored (440) that year, while only two teams struck out fewer times.
"Playing, coaching, and working for the Miners organization have been years of my life that I will cherish forever," Marino said. "I can't thank the front office staff, players I've coached, the incredible teammates I've had, and especially the wonderful fans enough for an amazing journey in professional baseball that they all made so special for me. The relationships I've made with all of them are not only ones I'll never forget, but ones I intend to continue for a very long time. I would like to send a special thank-you to Mike Pinto, who gave me an opportunity- first as a player, then a coach, and eventually a member of the front office. His mentorship, guidance and friendship over the years are going to help me in the next chapter of my life."
"I will certainly miss putting on a Miners uniform every summer, but I am very excited and honored to move into a career that helps serve and protect the great people of Illinois," Marino added. "I have always had a great respect for law enforcement throughout my life, and I will take the responsibility of working in that line of duty very seriously. I will always support and root for the Miners, and look forward to cheering on the team alongside the many fans that supported me for so many years."
"Steve will be greatly missed by all of us at Rent One Park," said Miners manager Mike Pinto. "Since he first became part of the Miners family back in 2014, Steve has been the epitome of what we have wanted in a Miner- first as a dominant player, being an offensive and defensive force for the team, but also as a leader. Steve was a leader of the 'Miners Way,' how we want players to represent us and perform. It's the reason he was the first and only captain in Miners history. His walk-off home run to win the division title in 2015 is etched in our minds forever. He moved into the coaching ranks with us and continued to be a leader and teacher with our hitters. Working in the front office, he helped us to bring schools and teams to Rent One Park for tournaments.
"More importantly, Steve is family," Pinto added. "I respect and appreciate his decision (to retire). The best compliment I can give is that if I were in need of law enforcement to protect my life and family, there is no one I would want more on that job than Steve Marino. I wish him and Maggie nothing but wonderful things ahead. He will always be part of the Miners family."
The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League's most-successful franchise since debuting in 2007, winning the 2012 Frontier League Championship as well as division titles in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. 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 their inaugural season. In addition, they have sent 59 players to MLB organizations in their 13 years of operation. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.