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Eric Gagne, once the king of L.A., officially calls it a career

Gagne_300

And so it ends, without thunder in the baseball heavens, without even a real goodbye, just memories of a stage once so exhilarating it seemed to shake all of Los Angeles.

Eric Gagne, one of the most exciting players in Dodgers’ history, has officially announced his retirement to the Canadian website RueFrontenac.com.

This would be the Gagne who won a Cy Young, who set a record for consecutive saves that may never be broken, who entered the stadium to a rock song that announced domination.

And the same one linked in the Mitchell Report to HGH, who was released by the Milwaukee Brewers, spent last season with an independent team in Canada and finally failed this spring in a comeback attempt with the Dodgers.

The highs were like few have ever dreamed, but now after two Tommy John surgeries on his elbow and back surgery, the memories are clouded by his drug use.

Gagne finally admitted he used HGH on Feb. 21 to Times columnist T.J. Simers, telling him:

"I did. I hate to talk about it. It just doesn't do anyone any good. But I thought it would help me get better when I hurt my knee. I just don't want that to sound as an excuse.

"I'm so ashamed. It wasn't smart. If I knew what I know now. . . . I didn't need it. I regret it so much, just now maybe getting over the guilt. It was stupid."

There was a stretch when he was the most unhittable pitcher in baseball. So good that he was scary.

By the time he came to the Dodgers’ camp this season, however, it was mostly wishful thinking. He could not find the old magic, giving up six runs in 2 2/3 innings.

The Dodgers assigned him to their minor league camp, but Gagne had to sense there would be no storybook comeback to complete his career. He asked for his release and no other team came calling.

So at age 34, he has called it a career. He’s made his millions, known his glory, so it isn’t like we should feel sorry for him. Still, there’s a lasting feeling of what might have been.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Eric Gagne with the Dodgers in 2005. Credit: Francis Specker / Associated Press.

 
Comments () | Archives (10)

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I think he made the right decision. I figured he was done when he pitched poorly during spring training. He had a fine career...with the Dodgers, anyway.

Manny, Eric, we are as shamed as other teams. Between the cheating, dishonesty and no salary cap this game is a farce. It needs to be cleaned up and returned to parity with some fairness for smaller markets thans us and NY, Boston and Chicago

Drug cheat, fraud and embarrassment to the sport. Somewhere a very promising individual did not get a shot to play Major League Baseball because Eric Gagne stole his roster spot.

Bon chance, Eric. Thank you for so many happy memories. You were the only truly great thing about many of those early 2000's Dodger teams.

Without HGH, this isn't even a story. He certainly wouldn't have made it a ten year career, won a Cy Young or earned millions.

He may have missed his roster spot but he has his self respect unlike these cheating ball players.

This 'roid head should be stricken from the books.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

such bitterness by people. there are cheaters everywhere. and there will be forever. it's human nature. i enjoyed watching gagne and wish him well. it's too bad about the HGH, but we don't know how much he used and for what, nor which batters were using when they faced him. and the jury is still out on whether it really helped anyone. face it, we all were enthralled by "game over." why can't we all just enjoy the memories?

HI Dodger Fan,

Memories? Are you telling me that if you went out with Miss USA, then later found out that she was a cheat, you'd remember only the good times? I'd be making sure that I didn't pick up a STD!

As for us not knowing the affects of steroids and HGH, you're right. It's perfectly okay to assume that Barry Bonds hit 73 HRs in a season all on his own. After all, it's been done so many times.

cheater or not.....what a great summer when he was on his roll. I was at the game when he broke the record and the place was absolutely rockin. Baseball is sooooo boring. Guys like Gagne brought life to the game and it was great.


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