ShareThis Page
Gagne wins NL Cy Young Award |

Gagne wins NL Cy Young Award

The Associated Press
| Friday, November 14, 2003 12:00 a.m

NEW YORK — Eric Gagne of the Los Angeles Dodgers became the first relief pitcher in 11 years to win a Cy Young Award, easily beating San Francisco’s Jason Schmidt for the National League honor.

Gagne, who converted all 55 of his save opportunities, received 28 of 32 first-place votes and 146 points in balloting released Thursday by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

It was just the ninth time a reliever won a Cy Young, the first in the NL since San Diego’s Mark Davis in 1989.

“We haven’t seen a lot of relievers win that award, so I was a little worried,” Gagne said during a telephone conference call.

Schmidt was second with two first-place votes and 73 points. Chicago’s Mark Prior got the other first-place votes and was third with 60 points.

Gagne, a 27-year-old right-hander, was 2-3 with a 1.20 ERA and had 137 strikeouts and 20 walks in 82 1-3 innings.

He was converted from a starter to a reliever after the 2001 season and had 52 saves in 2002.

“I knew I had the mental attitude to be a closer, it was just a matter of doing it in the major leagues,” Gagne said. “As a starter, you have to be more relaxed, you have to control your emotions more.”

He is the only pitcher to reach 50 saves in more than one season and has converted 62 consecutive save chances dating to 2002, a major league record.

“I don’t really care about the streak,” said Gagne, the first reliever to win a Cy Young since Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley won the AL award in 1992.

He is just the second Canadian to win a Cy Young, following Ferguson Jenkins of the Cubs in 1971.

Gagne failed to hold a lead just once this season — he allowed a two-run, go-ahead homer to Hank Blalock of Texas in the eighth inning of the All-Star game.

“For me, the All-Star game doesn’t count,” Gagne said.

Because he was 18 days shy of being eligible for arbitration and his contract was automatically renewed by the Dodgers in March, Gagne doesn’t get a bonus added to his $550,000 salary.

He figures to earn $3.5 million or more next season.

“I’m not bitter. That’s the business side of it. There’s no hard feeling,” Gagne said. “Now, it’s going to be a different story.”

Schmidt, 17-5 with a league-leading 2.34 ERA, gets $75,000 for finishing second.

Prior, 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA, gets $100,000 for winding up third. Prior, who is getting married Saturday, thought Gagne deserved to win.

“To do what he did and to not blow a save, especially in the situations he was put in, one-run games a lot of times, and to rattle off 50-some odd straight saves, is unbelievable,” he said.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.