In 2002, Eric Gagne seemingly came out of nowhere to become the most dominant closer in the Majors for close to three seasons.
Similarly...comes word of his retirement.
According to an interview the bespectacled closer gave to the French-Canadian website RueFrontenac.com, Gagne is officially done.
The former Los Angeles Dodgers closer was the center of the baseball universe from 2002 to 2004 when he set a Major League record of 84 straight saves. In 2003, he finished the season a perfect 55 for 55 in save opportunities and ran away with the National League Cy Young Award by capturing 28 of the 32 first place votes.
He became the first reliever in eleven years to take home the honor and along with Fergie Jenkins...one of only two Canadians. In addition, his 2-3 record that year made him the only pitcher to win the award while having a losing season.
By the time the middle of June 2005 rolled around, Gagne's short stint as a superstar was all but done. Arm injuries and subsequent Tommy John surgery did the righty in.
Overall, his tenure with the Dodgers was pretty successful. Prior to going to the Texas Rangers in 2007, he had converted 161 saves out of 168 save opportunities for a conversion rate of 96.6%...the highest in Major League history for a pitcher with at least 100 saves.
Gagne played for the Dodgers, Rangers, Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers over his 10 seasons and compiled a 33-26 record with 187 saves in 204 chances. He fanned a 718 batters in 643.2 innings and carried a 3.47 ERA.
He has battled numerous injuries over the past few seasons including shoulder, elbow and hip issues and prior to the 2008 season, he was mentioned in the Mitchell Report, former Senator George Mitchell's report on the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball.
Now, if only I knew how to say "Game Over" in French...I would have a much clever title to this post. As it is...I'm pretty sure I'm just one of about 47,000 that will mention the iconic phrase.