Relief pitcher Joe Nathan has officially retired from Major League Baseball as of Tuesday afternoon. Nathan appeared in parts of 16 MLB seasons with five different teams. He finishes his career with 377 saves. Nathan ranks eighth on the all-time saves list and is one of 27 pitchers to post 300 career saves. The Minnesota Twins, where Nathan spent 7 seasons, congratulated the pitcher on Twitter.
Congratulations on your retirement, Joe Nathan!
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) August 29, 2017
Joe Nathan Announces Retirement
Nathan did begin his career with some time as a starter. He made 39 appearances, 29 starts, over his first two seasons but could not string together success. He posted a 4.70 ERA with 115 strikeouts and 109 walks in 183.2 innings.
A shoulder injury and rehab further delayed Nathan’s development in 2001-02. He finally found his groove in ’03 with a 2.96 ERA in 78 bullpen appearances for the San Francisco Giants. The Twins apparently saw enough of Nathan’s improved work to trust that he could handle a full-time role as a closer. Minnesota traded away catcher A.J. Pierzynski for Francisco Liriano, Boof Bonser, and Nathan.
Time in Minnesota
Nathan excelled in his new role and home in Minnesota. In his first season, Nathan recorded 44 saves alongside a 1.62 ERA, 89 strikeouts, an all-star appearance, and a fourth place finish in AL Cy Young Award voting. Nathan would post six straight seasons of 36 or more saves, including a career-high 47 saves in ’09.
Nathan finished his Twins career with a 24-13 record, 2.16 ERA, 561 strikeouts, and a franchise record 260 saves.
Nathan finished his career with a 64-34 record, 2.87 ERA, 923.1 innings pitched in 787 appearances, 377 saves, and 976 strikeouts. He was a six-time all-star and posted two, top-five Cy Young Award finishes. The one thing missing from Nathan’s resume is postseason success. Nathan appeared in 10 postseason games with an 0-2 record, 8.10 ERA, and one save. He appeared in six separate postseasons but could never advance past the LDS.
No matter how you look at it, Nathan’s career was a resounding success. Last Word on Baseball wishes Nathan nothing but the best in retirement!
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