An original Miner who has been with the organization in some capacity since the team's inaugural season in 2007, Ralph Santana will once again serve as a special instructor in 2019.
Santana originally came to the organization as a player, and in his lone season on the diamond was a postseason all-star second baseman, hitting .342 with 21 doubles, 47 RBIs, 67 runs scored, 25 stolen bases and 126 total hits (which led the Frontier League) in 2007. The average and .430 on-base percentage stood as Miners career records until 2016, while the 126 hits was a single-season record for six years for the club.
Santana then transitioned to the dugout, becoming the Miners hitting coach in 2008, a title he would hold until 2013 and again on an interim basis in 2016. He was named the Frontier League's Coach of the Year in 2012, the year that Southern Illinois won their first Frontier League championship.
He was on the staff as the team's bench coach in 2014 and 2016, while also serving as an instructor in 2015, specifically working on infield defense and baserunning.
In 2017, Santana received the highest honor a team can bestow on one of its own, becoming the third Miner to have his number retired on June 13th.
Prior to coming to the Miners, Santana was a 42nd round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2001 MLB Draft, playing three years in their system as well as one year each in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, with the Winnipeg Goldeyes and with the Sioux Falls Canaries in the American Association. He was managed by Mike Pinto in 2006 in Sioux Falls.