Despite Short Professional Career, Michael Mauro Continues to Make an Impact in Baseball
By: Michael A. Viveros
After a sensational junior season, Michael Mauro made the difficult decision to forgo his senior year of college to play professional baseball.
“My decision was hey, millions of kids wait for this opportunity,” said Mauro. “Am I really going to say no and hope I do it again next year?”
Michael Mauro started to play baseball at the age of 10, but it took until his senior year of high school for professional baseball to become a possibility. Although he’d been a late bloomer, once he started to play college ball, his dream began to look like a realistic goal.
Mauro made the CUNY and Knickerbocker all-star team every year. His best season came his junior year in which he won the Athlete of the Year award.
He had confidence that he would be selected in the MLB draft. His play had earned him the recognition to win multiple awards, and he even received positive feedback from scouts on his chances. Unfortunately, the draft passed, and no team had selected him.
After he went undrafted, Mauro had 2 options; return for his senior season or sign a free agent deal. Although he wanted to play another year of college baseball and try to get drafted the next year, he could not turn down the opportunity when the Detroit Tigers offered to sign him.
His first experience of professional baseball came in the Appalachian League, a league strictly for rookie players.
“I was hitting up at the top of the lineup, I was able to hit the pitching there,” said Mauro. “It was all good and then as soon as I got promoted to A-level ball is when things started going downhill.”
In his first week in A-level baseball, Mauro faced off against Todd Van Poppel, the first-round pick of the Oakland Athletics. Van Poppel held Mauro without a hit the entire game, with 3 strikeouts.
Mauro had to face the toughest competition he had ever played. He had to compete against highly drafted players and even players like Jim Thome, who in 2018 had been inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Michael Mauro did all he could for a year to attempt to adjust to A-level baseball. However, he came to the realization that the other players were just a few steps ahead of him. His professional career has just started, but he did not believe he could keep up.
Mauro left professional baseball and joined the police department. A year later he also enrolled at CSI to finish his degree. He only had time to take one class every semester, which would take him 7 years to graduate.
After college, Mauro knew he still wanted some involvement in baseball. He got a job as an assistant coach at John Jay College, and later got a job as an assistant coach for CSI baseball.
Mauro got the job as head coach at CSI in 2009 and has earned a 221-135-1 record with seven CUNYAC titles.
“Coach wants all of us to be on our best game,” said Domenick Castiglione, the 2019 CUNYAC Rookie of the Year. “He pushes us to be the best on and off the field at all times possible.”
Coach Mauro’s success as head coach has earned him eight CUNYAC Coach of the year citations. He has helped transform the CSI baseball program and now leads them in their next step forward as they move into Division II athletics.
“CSI always used to be the school people would fall back on,” Mauro said. “We’re trying to change that, especially now with the DII move.”