Steven Christopher Trachsel was born on Halloween 1970, in Oxnard California. He attended Long Beach State University, getting to the College World Series there. The six foot three, right hander was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the eight round of the 1991 draft. He won 13 games at AA Charlotte in 1992 getting promoted to AAA Iowa where he went 13-6 in 1993.
He got a September call up going 0-2 in three games. He was on the Cubs staff for good in 1994 going 9-7 with a 3.21 ERA. He would spend seven years in Chicago with three winning seasons. Trachsel went 13-9 in 1996 but fell to a 8-12 record in 1997. After allowing the second most HRs in the league the previous two seasons, he allowed 32 league leading HRs in 1997, posting a 4.51 ERA.
In 1998 he had one of his best seasons in Chicago, going 15-8 with a 4.46 ERA making the All Star team. That season he went into the history books, as he served up Mark McGwire’s 62nd HR, which passed him for the single season all time HR mark.
In 1999 he led the league in losses, going 8-18 with a 5.56 ERA, allowing another 32 HRs and was granted free agency after the season. In January of 2000 he signed with the Tampa Devil Rays but was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on July 31st, going a combined 8-15 (second most losses in the AL). That off season he signed as a free agent with the New York Mets for the 2001 season.
Whenever Trachsel pitched, you were in for a long game, he was nicknamed “the Human Rain Delay”. He was probably one of the slowest workers on the mound in Mets history. He walked a lot of people and didn’t strike out to many, which led to large pitch counts. He made his Mets debut on April 7th as the team’s fifth starter and he was shelled. He allowed ten earned runs in five innings pitched against the Montreal Expos. He would lose his first four starts & go 1-9 by the end of June.
But the up & down Trachsel then went out to win eight of his next ten games. In his last game of the year on October 2nd, he threw a two hit shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates striking out seven batters in front of the home crowd. He finished the season at 11-13 with a 4.46 ERA.
He followed up going 11-11 in 2002 lowering his ERA to 3.37.
In 2003 he started out the year at 0-2 but had a good streak to win four in a row. On June 15th in an interleague game at Anaheim against the Angels, Trachsel flirted with a no hitter into the 6th inning, when David Eckstein singled. It was the only hit he allowed on the day, pitching a one hit shutout victory, while walking four.
On August 18th in a game against the Colorado Rockies at Shea Stadium, he once again flirted with a no hitter into the 6th inning. This time it was Chin-hui Tsao who doubled for the only hit of the game.
He closed out the final two months of the year 7-3 finishing as the clubs winningest pitcher. For the year he was 16-10 (5th most wins in the NL) with a 3.78 ERA, striking out 111 batters pitching in 204 innings throwing the two complete game shutouts.
The next year he fell off to 12- 13 but pitched another 200 plus innings striking out 117 batters posting a 4.00 ERA.
He started to suffer back problems which led to a herniated disk and him missing most of the 2005 season. He returned on August 26th in San Francisco and pitched eight shut out innings, striking out six batters. He made six starts in September but lost each one to go 1-4.
He came back in 2006 winning the fourth game of the season but found himself at 2-4 at the end of May. As the Mets team went on a roll so did Trachsel, he won seven straight decisions and twelve of thirteen games over a three month period. The Mets were giving him a lot of run support as he never allowed fewer than two runs in any of those wins.
On the season he won 15 games again (7th most in the NL) which tied Tom Glavine for tops on the Mets staff. He only lost eight in 30 starts (165 innings pitched) and posted a 4.47 ERA. The Mets won the Eastern Division title & went to the post season in 2006 and that’s where his troubles began.
Post Season: He got the NLDS start in Game #3 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, giving up two runs on three hits and was finished by the 4th inning. In the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals he got shelled in Game #3, giving up five runs in the 1st inning at Busch Stadium. Ten of the twelve batters he faced reached base, when Willie Randolph came to the mound he asked to be removed from the game due to a contusion on his thigh.
From that point on he lost the confidence of his manager, his team, and upper management. They felt he gave up & didn’t seem to care. So the 15 game winner was pushed to the background and never seen again in a Mets uniform.
In his six year Mets career he was 66-59 with a 4.09 ERA. He walked 354 batters and allowed 124 HRs, which is certainly a high amount. The next season he was signed by the Baltimore Orioles going 6-8 & then was traded to the Chicago Cubs. After the season he resigned with the Orioles for 2008 going 2-5 in his final ten games.
Overall he went 9-16 after leaving the Mets and finished his 16 year career at 143-159 with 7 saves, 1591 strike outs & 943 walks in 2501 innings pitched. He posted a 4.39 ERA allowing 348 HRs, 20 complete games & 7 shut outs.
Retirement: In 2011 he returned to New York attending the ten year anniversary of the 911 attacks ceremonies at Citi Field.