Once upon a time, in a Dodger era far, far away, lived one of the best closers in all of baseball history. It was 84 consecutive saves until the "Game Over" Gagne beast was proved to be human.
With a fast ball into the upper nineties and a devastating change, this guy was unstoppable; so much so that the game was literally over once he stepped onto the field in the ninth.
Averaging over 50 saves per season from 2002-2004, Gagne was slowed down tremendously by injuries in the '05 and '06 seasons only playing in a combined 16 games. His days with the Dodgers were numbered and "Welcome to the Jungle" would never be heard in Chavez Ravine again.
In 2007, it looked like Gagne was rebounding well with the Texas Rangers with two wins, a 2.16 ERA, 16 saves in 17 opportunities, and 29 strike outs in his first 34 appearances.
After being traded to the Boston Red Sox, he left his outstanding performance in Texas with almost a 7 ERA and three blown saves in 20 games. By the 2008 season, his time in Major League Baseball was drawing to a close.
Gagne was not going to leave that easy however. Despite being released from the Brewers in 2008, Gagne went on to play baseball in Canada where he was a starting pitcher instead of relief. After a decent season in a Canadian independent league, the Dodgers saw potential in the determined 34 year old pitcher.
He now has a shot to join the Dodgers for a second chance. According to Gagne, his arm is feeling as good as it was feeling since back in the days of his prime. Gagne will be with the Dodgers during spring training this March.
He has overcome a lot to get to this point. He apparently is slowly but surely getting his mechanics down pat and if and when he does so, we could possibly hear Guns 'N' Roses blaring in Dodger Stadium again (although he will most likely not be closing, but instead setting up for Broxton in the eighth).
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