Top 10 Dodgers of the 2000’s: 2000-2009
1. Eric Gagne
Gagne had an ugly start to the decade and his career. He was labeled a starter but was just horrendous. Much like many relievers, his career as a starter was dead so he made a last ditch effort as a reliever. Breaking news: It worked. He instantly became the most dominant closer in baseball.
Creating a record that still stands, converting 84 consecutive saves. In 2003 Gagne had an ERA+ of 337. To put that into perspective, the highest ERA+ the only unanimous Hall-of-Famer Mariano Rivera had was 316. Needless to say, that was a special season for the starter turned reliever.
That 2003 season was enough to earn his only Cy Young award. Aside from his unreal numbers, he brought a sense of worry to the other team when he would enter the game. As “Welcome to the Jungle” rang through the stadium, and “Game Over” was plastered on the screens, the other team was in trouble when Gagne entered because it truly was “Game Over”.
Gagne’s aura was larger than life. That may have been a big reason for his success. His stuff was obviously otherworldly, but the presence he brought to a game was just as special. It is hard to explain if you were never in the stadium to watch him pitch. Gagne brought excitement to the fans and dread to the opposing hitters. He was electric and earned the top spot on the list.