After nearly 600 victories, 38 seasons and seven county championships, legendary Shoreham-Wading River baseball coach Sal Mignano has decided to hang up the cleats.
Mignano, the longest tenured coach at Shoreham and the only head coach in program history, officially announced his retirement Saturday during a ceremony to retire the numbers of three former players. An alumni game was also planned, but was canceled due to rain.
A 2007 inductee into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame, Mignano left an indelible mark on Shoreham sports. His teams sustained a nearly unprecedented level of success during his tenure, including 29 straight seasons of reaching the playoffs, a streak still intact. Since 1981, the fifth year of the program, the team never finished below .500.
Mignano’s 583 career victories is second most in Suffolk County history. In recent years, the team was as good as ever. The Wildcats won back-to-back Class A county titles in 2011 and 2012. This past season, the Wildcats won the league title before losing to the state champion, Bayport-Blue Point, in the county finals.
The greatest season in program history came in 1987. The Wildcats won the Class B state championship behind the duo of Keith Osik and Eric Strovink. Osik, easily regarded as the best player in program history, played 10 seasons in Major League Baseball. Strovink, a close friend of Osik’s, was one of the top hitters the team ever had. He slugged nine home runs, the most ever in a single season for Shoreham, during the championship season in 1987. He holds the career record for home runs by a wide margin with 25. The next closest player has 13.
“I think reality has set in,” Mignano said during a 90-minute sit-down with the Riverhead News-Review reflecting back on his career. “I think there will be different stages of the reality. Maybe when winter workouts start next year. When practices officially start and of course when the season starts.”
For an in-depth profile of Mignano, pick up a copy of the Aug. 7 Riverhead-News Review.