Still a huge Major League Baseball fan despite a somewhat tarnished product after the so-called steroid era, ever-increasing ticket prices and the existence of a network where you can watch NFL footage 24 hours a day? If that’s the case and you’re one of those rare fellows who also is at the intersection of a Venn Diagram where those qualities meet with fluent in French, then “Game Over: l’histoire d’ Éric Gagné” is a must-read for you.
The book, in English “Game Over: The Story of Eric Gagne,” is the biography of the former Cy Young=winning closer and Gagne drops some bombs on the MLB that would only be more devastating if all 319 pages were not in French. An English translation is in the works, but for the sake of those among us who are not polyglots or don’t have the time to pick up another lingua this year, here are some highlights:
Gagne, the only reliever who has won the Cy Young in the last 19 years in 2003 when he had 55 saves (in 55 appearances part of a three-year streak in which he recorded a record 84 consecutive saves), not only admits to using performance enhancing drugs but speculates that his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates were as well.
“I was intimately aware of the clubhouse in which I lived. I would say that 80 percent of the Dodgers players were consuming them,” Gagne says in the book.
As one of 89 players identified by the Mitchell Report in 2007 as having doped, Gagne’s personal admission is no surprise. Injuries eventually derailed his career after the CY Young win and he was out of baseball by 2008. He attempted a comeback with the Dodgers in 2010 but was released during spring training. In February of that year in an interview with the Los Angeles Times he admitted that he had used human grown hormone for the first time publicly.
Two years later the 37-year-old French Canadian has fleshed out the details, acknowledging that he used HGH over five cycles in a three-year period toward the end of his career, saying of the use in the book that, “It was sufficient to ruin my health, tarnish my reputation and throw a shadow over the extraordinary performances of my career.”
Gagne may feel guilt, however, the one thing he is not is a snitch. The book does not name teammates and or the PEDs they were using.