Joe Nathan pitching in a game during the 2006 season. Nathan, a former Stony Brook Baseball player, retired after a 16-year career in the MLB. KEITH ALLISON/FLICKR VIA CC BY-SA 2.0

Former Stony Brook Baseball player Joe Nathan has officially retired after a 16-year career in MLB, the Minnesota Twins announced Tuesday afternoon. The team will host a press conference with Nathan on Friday and he will throw out the first pitch prior to the team’s game against the Kansas City Royals that night.

The longtime closer finishes his career with the most career saves (260) in Twins history and the eighth-most career saves (367) in the history of Major League Baseball. In addition to suiting up for seven seasons with the Twins, he also played for the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and within the Washington Nationals organization.

Nathan was the first Stony Brook Baseball player to play in the MLB, paving the path for future Seawolves to play at the highest level. Tom Koehler, Nick Tropeano and Travis Jankowski are the other three players with MLB experience and are all currently on a 40-man roster.

Nathan was originally a shortstop when he arrived at Stony Brook in 1993, the team’s longtime head coach Matt Senk says. However, that would soon change once Senk identified where Nathan’s future on the baseball diamond would be.

“At the first practice, I hit a ground ball to him, he picks it up and throws an absolute rocket across the diamond,” Senk recalled in an interview from last spring. “And I’m like ‘wow, that’s pretty special.’ I don’t know if we ever had anybody with the arm strength that Joe had.”

Nathan played in the MLB into his 40s, following Tommy John surgeries at ages 35 and 40, in search of the elusive World Series ring. He began 2017 with the Syracuse Chiefs, the Washington Nationals’ Triple-A team, but never received a promotion before being released on May 31.

Joe Nathan and the Minnesota Twins could not be reached for comment at the time of publishing. 

Tim Oakes

Tim is a senior journalism major. He joined the Statesman back in the fall of 2015 as a contributing sports writer. Since then he has written stories on almost every Stony Brook sport, including two consecutive years of in-depth coverage of the Stony Brook Baseball team. You can contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @TimOakesBlog


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