New York experience helped Nathan grow

Opportunity to develop at Stony Brook University was key for Tigers righty

New York experience helped Nathan grow

Joe Nathan, RHP, Tigers
Hometown: Pine Bush, N.Y.

Taking the mound at Citi Field in the 2013 All-Star Game was extra special for Joe Nathan, even though the closer had been an All-Star five times before that.

Nathan, who picked up the save in the 84th Midsummer Classic, grew up a Mets fan in Pine Bush, 85 miles north of the ballpark. Though he wasn't a standout prospect while at Pine Bush High School, things worked out well for the big right-hander, who eventually went to Stony Brook University on Long Island.

"Stony Brook was a perfect fit for me, because it's a great school, which is what I was looking for," Nathan told the New York Daily News. "As a high school player, I definitely wasn't good. I wasn't highly touted, so it gave me an opportunity to grow as a person and as a player."

In 2008, Nathan gave his alma mater's athletic department a $500,000 gift toward the construction of a new baseball field. It was named Joe Nathan Field in his honor.

Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.