Looper was a scholar athlete while a student at Mangum High School in Mangum, Oklahoma. He graduated in 1993 with four letters each in baseball and basketball, and two in football, while also a member of the National Honor Society.
College and OlympicsEdit
He focused on baseball while attending Wichita State University, and was inducted into their sports Hall of Fame in 2003. In 1996, he competed in the College World Series, and was a first-team All-American as a junior. He was also a member of the bronze medal-winning Team USA in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Looper was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals as the third pick in the first round of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his major league debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 31, 1998, striking out the side in a relief appearance. After the 1998 season, he was traded to the Florida Marlins for shortstop Edgar Rentería.
Looper enjoyed success with the Marlins, working his way into the role of a closer. However, toward the end of the 2003 season, as the Marlins were in a pennant race that culminated in a World Series win, Looper faltered somewhat and was replaced as closer by Ugueth Urbina. Looper did get the save in the fourth game of the series against the Yankees.
In January 2004, Looper signed with the New York Mets as a free agent and had his best season to date going 2-5 with 29 saves and a 2.70 ERA. However, Looper had many crucial blown saves during the 2005 season, including blown saves on Opening Day, in a game that would have clinched a Met sweep at Yankee Stadium and as part of an eight-run collapse by the Mets pen against the Nationals. With that, many Mets fan called him "Blooper". These performances still fresh in fans' minds, he was greeted with loud boos and "Looper sucks!" chants upon his returns to Shea with the Cardinals, most prominently during the 2006 NLCS.
In September 2005, Looper underwent shoulder surgery to repair a blown AC joint. This, in addition to the emergence of Aaron Heilman and acquisition by the Mets of other relief pitchers, kept the Mets from picking up his $5 million option for 2006. On December 15, 2005, he signed a three-year, $13.5M contract with the Cardinals to set up star closer and former Met Jason Isringhausen.
He was part of the 2006 World Series winning St. Louis Cardinals team which, coincidentally, won the series the day before his birthday. As primarily an 8th inning setup man, Looper posted a 9-3 record as the team's leading "vulture", or bullpen wins leader.
Beginning in the 2007 season Looper became a starting pitcher for the first time in his major league career. Before the season began, Looper stated that his goal was to reach 200 innings pitched in the season. In his first season as a starter, Looper reached career highs in wins (12), innings pitched (175), and strikeouts (84) in 30 starts (31 total appearances).
After the 2009 Season the Brewers did not pick up the option on Looper for the 2010 Season, making him a free agent.
Looper is married with and resides in Palos Heights, Illinois. He and his wife, Shannon, adopted a daughter named Graclyn from China in 2009. Their biological children are Toryn and Braden Jr. His cousin, Aaron, is a former major league relief pitcher.
- ↑ ESPN.com news services (2005-10-31). Mets exercise option on Trachsel. ESPN.com. Retrieved on 2008-11-28.
- ↑ Associated Press (2005-12-15). Cardinals, Looper agree to $13.5M, three-year deal. ESPN.com. Retrieved on 2008-11-28.
- ↑ Goold, Derrick. "'Not that Crazy': Redbirds believe Looper can be a starter" St. Louis Post Dispatch 16 Dec. 2006 STLtoday.com 30 Mar. 2007 <>.
- ↑  Goold, Derrick. "Thrown for a Loop (The Cards' Unexpected Ace)" St. Louis Post Dispatch 25 April. 2007 STLtoday.com 29 Sep. 2007
- ↑ Looper to test market
- ↑ Looper inks one-year deal with Crew
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Braden Looper page at stlcardinals.scout.com
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Looper, Braden LaVerne|
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||starting pitcher in Major League Baseball|
|DATE OF BIRTH||1974-10-28|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Weatherford, Oklahoma|
|DATE OF DEATH|
|PLACE OF DEATH|