On July 15, 2004, Eric Gagne etched his name in Los Angeles Dodgers lore by recording career save No. 130 — surpassing Jeff Shaw for the most in franchise history.
The right-hander tossed a perfect ninth inning, striking out Roberto Alomar, Steve Finley and Luis Gonzalez to put the finishing touches on a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Bank One Ballpark.
It was Gagne’s 24th save of the season, and third since blowing his first attempt in nearly two years against the Diamondbacks just 10 days prior. The 28-year-old had recorded 84 consecutive saves from Aug. 26, 2002 through July 5, 2004, which still to this day is an MLB record.
During the three-year span, Gagne rivaled New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera as one of the most dominant closers in all of baseball. He totaled 152 saves from 2002-04, finishing with no less than 45 saves in any season during the stretch.
The 2004 season was an overall success for Gagne, who compiled a 7-3 record, 2.19 ERA, 2.05 FIP and 0.91 WHIP with 45 saves and 114 strikeouts against 22 walks in 82.1 innings pitched (70 games). He was named to his third straight National League All-Star team before additionally placing seventh and 11th in Cy Young and MVP voting, respectively.
Gagne was mired by injuries over the next two years, logging a combined 15.1 innings pitched from 2005-06. He stint in Los Angeles would come to an end at the conclusion of the 2006 season, when he signed a one-year contract with the Texas Rangers.
Over parts of eight seasons with the Dodgers, Gagne accumulated 161 saves — a record that stood for nearly 12 years before current closer Kenley Jansen leapfrogged him during the 2016 season.
On June 20 of that year, Jansen officially became the Dodgers’ all-time saves leader after converting his 20th save of the season against the Washington Nationals.
Gagne offered high praise for Jansen, calling him the best closer in Dodgers history.