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Alumnus turns SHU into a family affair

In 1986, Seton Hall pitcher Doug Cinnella was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles. He was six credits short of graduation at the time he was drafted, but in the offseason of 1990, he came back to SHU to complete his communications degree.

Photo courtesy of Natalie Cinnella

Cinnella spent his entire professional baseball career in the minors playing two seasons with the Orioles, two with the Montreal Expos, and four with the New York Mets. He said that a few colleges were interested in him, but everything at the time pointed to Seton Hall, and the coaching staff was a big part of that decision.

Cinnella said getting drafted was a big accomplishment for him, as well as his family. “It was humbling, it was exciting, it was a little scary, but the bottom line was it was what I wanted,” he said.

On June 1, 2015, Cinnella was inducted into the SHU Athletics Hall of Fame, and he said getting the call made him realize that all the hard work he put into his career was worth it. He said that integrity was something coach Mike Sheppard Sr. always instilled in his team.

“You have to be a good person, you have to be a good student, you have to be a good son, you have to be a good brother, you have to be a good teammate, and then you can be a good baseball player,” Cinnella said.

Cinnella now has a son and daughter who attend SHU, and he said it means a lot to him to be able to have them where he began. He said a motto he has with his children is “The pirates unite us.”

Joe Cinnella, a freshman undecided business major, will be starting his own SHU baseball career in 2019 as a left-handed pitcher. Joe said his father attending SHU had an influence in his decision. He said he would always come to Seton Hall with his dad, always heard about it and thought it would be cool to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Joe said it was really amazing for him growing up to read all the articles on the success of his dad, especially being able to see him be inducted into the SHU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Joe said it’s also really cool that his dad has his own baseball card. “Every kid buys baseball cards growing up, and the cool thing was that people would mail my dads card to him to have him sign it for them, so that was another thing that when I got older I realized how far my dad actually went with his career,” Joe said.

Joe said that he is looking forward to the 2019 baseball season, and that thinking of his family history with Seton Hall, motivates him to make an impact on this school like his dad did.

Natalie Cinnella, a junior accounting major, said part of her decision to go to Seton Hall was the fact that she was already invested in the school because of her father.

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Natalie said that it was really interesting to hear about her dad’s career from him, and others, growing up. She added that she felt it was really awesome to see her dad get inducted into the SHU Athletics Hall of Fame.

“I’m a very proud daughter of him because of how much he has accomplished in his life before and after I was born,” Natalie said.

Natalie said she thinks it’s fun that no matter what, she and her family, will always be connected through Seton Hall baseball, which will always be in their lives.

Veronica Gaspa can be reached at


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