Joseph Michael Nathan (born November 22, 1974) is a Major League Baseball (MLB) relief pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. Nathan started out his baseball career as a shortstop in high school but converted to a pitcher after being drafted by the San Francisco Giants. He worked his way through the minor leagues, alternating between spots in the rotation and the bullpen. After a few years of splitting time between the majors and the minors, Nathan had a breakout season as a setup man for the Giants in 2003. That off-season, Nathan was traded to the Twins and became their closer.
From 2004 to 2009, Nathan was considered one of the top closers in MLB with four All-Star appearances and a league-leading 246 saves. In 2010, Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow and missed the entire season. On April 3, 2011, Nathan recorded his first save since his injury against the Toronto Blue Jays. On July 16th, 2011, Nathan regained his role as closer. On August 10th, 2011, Nathan became the Twins all-time leader in saves with 255 in a game against the Boston Red Sox.
Nathan graduated from Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, New York in 1992, where he played basketball, baseball, and ran track. However, only Division III colleges showed minimal interest in having him play for their program. Nathan ended up playing college baseball at Stony Brook University as a result of his baseball coach and Stony Brook's coach having a history; Pine Bush assistant baseball coach Jeff Masionet and Stony Brook baseball coach Matt Senk played college baseball together at State University of New York at Cortland.