Before Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel was striking out nearly two hitters per nine innings, there was Los Angeles Dodgers’ Eric Gagne. Gagne was baseball’s most lethal reliever during a three-year stretch (2002-2004), picking up 152 saves while compiling a 1.79 ERA and a 13.3 K/9 during that span. Everyone and their mother were convinced Gagne was on something during his dominant period, especially since he was nothing more than a failed starter before the transformation. Ergo, it comes as no surprise that not only Gagne admits his own PED use in his new book, but implicates 80% of his former teammates in the process.
“I was intimately aware of the clubhouse in which I lived. I would say that 80 percent of the Dodgers players were consuming them.”
Now, let’s look at the 2003 Dodgers to see if PEDs helped. According to Baseball-Reference, the team’s OPS+ was 79 (100 is average) and the pitching staff’s ERA+ was 128. Therefore, PEDs could have helped their pitching staff, not so much the lineup.
Interesting names of note on that 2003 team are: Rickey Henderson, Shawn Green, Kevin Brown, Adrian Beltre, Fred McGriff, Robin Ventura, Hideo Nomo, Jeromy Burnitz, Paul Lo Duca, and Odalis Perez. If I were a betting man, I would wager all those guys took a little something.
However, judging from the excerpts from his book, “Game Over: The Story of Eric Gagne, he doesn’t admit to using during that time period, but rather his final three seasons where he was battling injuries.
“It was sufficient to ruin my health, tarnish my reputation and throw a shadow over the extraordinary performances of my career,”
Funny how that works out well for Eric. There is absolutely no way Gagne didn’t juice before the end of his career, and I really do not care if he did juice because I am one of the rare pro-juicers out there. Who am I to judge what a player should or should not do? And don’t give me the players from yesteryear never took PEDs stuff because those guys used as well.
Needless to say, I think it’s a safe assumption to think PED use was even more rampant then we originally thought. Gagne just further proved that point with the claims he is making.
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