Major League Baseball pitcher Joe Nathan will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Saturday at Stony Brook University’s new baseball field — a facility the Stony Brook alum helped fund.
Nathan, the Minnesota Twins’ all-time leader in saves, is a 1997 graduate of Stony Brook.
He donated $500,000 to his alma mater for the new field. The field is named in his honor — Joe Nathan Field.
The field cost $1.3 million overall. The balance was funded by anonymous donors and a $100,000 gift from Bethpage Federal Credit Union, said Jim Fiore, Stony Brook’s athletic director.
The field, which will be the home ground of the Stony Brook baseball team in 2012, was used for the first time earlier this year.
Nathan will make an appearance at a ribbon-cutting for the field at 12:15 p.m., Fiore said. The event is free and open to the public.
“He was a great player, a great student, and really embodies everything that we’re trying to produce,” Fiore said. “Someone that’s a scholar-athlete.”
The new field is on the campus at the same location as Stony Brook’s old University Field, but is an entirely new facility, said university spokesman Thomas Chen.
The field has a 1,000-seat capacity, artificial turf, and 16-foot fences in centerfield, Chen said. The rest of the fence is 8 feet tall, and the park is 390 feet to centerfield, 330 feet down the lines and 360 feet in the gaps, he said.
The Stony Brook baseball team began using the field at the end of last season after a year of mostly playing on the road, Chen said.
“Nothing of the old field is there anymore,” he said.