The best closer in Minnesota Twins history is headed to the team’s hall of fame. Joe Nathan will be inducted into the Twins’ Hall of Fame this summer, the team announced Friday ahead of TwinsFest at Target Field.
He will be joined by former team president Jerry Bell, whose tenure include two World Series victories for the Twins and played a significant role in the building of Target Field in downtown Minneapolis.
The induction is based on media and other voting, and this was Nathan’s first appearance on the ballot.
Nathan pitched 7 seasons with Minnesota, with a 2.16 ERA and a Twins-record 260 saves. Nathan was dominant in his era and made 4 all-star teams in his 7 seasons with the Twins.
The former converted shortstop came to the Twins in the famous Terry Ryan trade that sent A.J. Pierzynski to the Giants. A guy named Joe Mauer replaced Pierzynski, and the Twins in turn added Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser. By that time Nathan had converted to a pitcher and eventually became one of the dominant closers in all of baseball.
In his run from 2004-11, Nathan nailed down saves with the very best of them.
Just for fun, let’s look at Mariano Rivera, the first-ever unanimously selected Hall of Famer.
Mariano Rivera (career):
2.21 ERA, 23% strikeout rate, 5.6% walk rate, save conversion rate 90.5%* (437 of 483)
Joe Nathan with the Twins:
2.16 ERA, 30.7% strikeout rate, 7.3% walk rate, save conversion rate 90.3% (260 of 288)
Sources: Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com
*FanGraphs started has blown saves data going back to 2002, so we used Rivera’s rate from 2002 until the end of his career.