Steve Trachsel: 2006 N.L. Eastern Champion Mets Pitcher (2001 - 2006)

Steven Christopher Trachsel
was born on Halloween 1970, in Oxnard California. His parents were Betty & Roy Trachsel, a banker. Steve was the oldest of three children, which included a brother & sister.

He first attended Fullerton College then transferred to Long Beach State University, getting to the College World Series there. In his college days he had issues learning to deal with his emotions while on the mound.

The six foot three, right hander was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the eighth round of the 1991 draft. 

In 1992 he pitched at AA Charlotte getting promoted to AAA Iowa where he went 13-6 in 1993. As he was getting ready to pitch Game seven of the championship he was called up to the big leagues.

MLB Career: He got a September call up four days after his AAA team won the Championship. He got the September 19th start against the Marlins, where he gave up just two runs in seven innings of solid work but took a 2-1 loss to Chris Hammond.

In three appearances he went 0-2 the rest of the way. He was on the Cubs staff for good in 1994 going 9-7 with a 3.21 ERA. Trachsel would spend parts of eight seasons with the Cubs, winning in double figures twice & having three winning seasons. 

In 1996 Trachsel went 13-9 with a 3.03 ERA, as the second-best pitcher on the fourth place Cubs staff. In 1997 he fell to 8-12 record as the Cubs finished last. After having given up the second most HRs in the league the previous two seasons, he served up 32 league leading HRs in 1997, while posting a 4.51 ERA.

In 1998 the Cubs had a better team & won a wild card spot. It was also the year of his teammate Sammy Sosa chasing Mark McGwire for the single season HR mark.

Trivia: On September 8th of that season at Busch Stadium, 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. When Sammy Sosa ran in to congratulate McGwire it upset Trachsel as well as many others on the Cubs team.

Quotes- Steve Trachsel: "It looked great on TV & that's obviously what everyone keeps seeing. But to have an opposing player during the game congratulate another opposing player, from a players standpoint, I didn't appreciate that."

But also, in 1997 Steve had one of his best seasons with the Cubs, going 15-8 with career highs in strike outs (149) walks (84) & innings (208) as he posted a 4.46 ERA making his only All-Star team. That year he also hit his second career HR & drove in a career high eight runs while batting .266. In his Cubs career he drove in 23 runs.

Tie Breaker Win: The Cubs & Giants had tied for a wild card spot & Trachsel pitched the playoff tie breaker, shutting out the Giants for 6.1 innings earning the win. He did not pitch in the NLDS loss to the Braves.

Most Losses in NL: 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 soon 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.

The Human Rain Delay: Whenever Trachsel pitched, you were in for a long game, he was nicknamed “the Human Rain Delay”. as he was probably one of the slowest workers on the mound in Mets history. 

Mets Career: Trachsel was never the best on his staff & never had overpowering stuff, but he was a solid pitcher. He also walked a lot of people and didn’t strike out too many, which led to large pitch counts.

On April 7th, he made his Mets debut making a start in Montreal as the team’s fifth starter. It was a nightmare outing; he was shelled for ten runs on nine hits & three HRs in the 10-0 loss. He would lose his first four starts & have an ERA of 10.42 before he got a win. It was a bad start of a his Mets career at a time where the team were defending NL Champs.

On April 30th he collected his first win, beating the Astros at Shea Stadium, allowing just a run in six innings.  But it didn't last long, it would be two months & eight starts before he won another game. By then he was 1-9 with a 6.75 ERA at the end of June.

Trivia: On May 17th he served up four HRs in an inning, the most in team history in a loss to the Padres.

But the up & down Trachsel then went out to win eight of his next ten games. On July 16th he shut out the Blue Jays for eight innings at Shea to earn a win. In August he held both Houston & San Francisco to a run in eight innings but earned no decision each time. 

On October 2nd, in his last start of the year, he threw a two-hit complete game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates striking out seven batters& walking two in front of the home crowd. 

He finished the season at 11-13 with a 4.46 ERA. He struck out 144 walked 47 & gave up 27 HRs in 173.2 innings in 30 starts. The Mets fell to a third-place finish at 82-80.

2002: Things got bad for the Mets as they fell to fifth place in Bobby Valentines last year. The team made some bad off season signings in Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar & Pedro Astacio. or Trachsel he went 11-11 lowering his ERA to 3.37 which was the best on the staff of the starters.

2003: The Mets added Tom Glavine to the pitching staff that year, but they had poor offense & finished fifth under manager Art Howe.

 Trachsel started out the year at 0-2, But from May 12th to May 29th he won four straight games. 

One Hitters: On June 15th in an interleague game at Anaheim against the Angels, Trachsel
flirted with a no hitter into the 6th inning, until David Eckstein singled. It was the only hit he allowed on the day, pitching a one hit shutout victory, while striking out just one & walking four. It was the 24th one hitter in Mets history.

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. Steve struck out three & walked no one in the 8-0 Mets win. The one hitter was the 26th one hitter in Mets history, marking the first time a Mets pitcher threw two in the same season.

On August 7th he reached the double figure mark in wins as he beat the Astros in Houston or a his 10th win. He then won four straight games including the second one hitter.

He closed out the final two months of the year 7-3 finishing as the club's winningest pitcher. For the year he was 16-10 (5th most wins in the NL) with a 3.78 ERA, striking out 111 batters walking 65 pitching in 204 innings in 33 starts, throwing the two complete game shutouts.

 Bobble Head Day: The next year the Mets held a bobble head day in his honor. Al Leiter said he was tired of always hearing Trachsel complain that he wasn't in any highlight films of the team or any promotions. So he said he called the VP of sales & said give the guy something. Even Steve commented that the head should move up & down slowly in reference to his pitching style.

Steve was known to be emotional & negative at times. It was hard for him to keep his temper & feelings under control, something the Mets had him work on with a therapist.

2004: In another dismal Mets season, where they finished fourth under Art Howe going 71-91.

In his first eleven starts, he allowed one run of less six times & started out at 5-3. As late as May 23rd he was posting a 2.83 ERA. In August he got to the ten-win mark again, but from there went on a personal five game losing streak. He did finish the year with two one run victories in close games. 

On September 22nd, he drove in a run to help himself in beating John Patterson & the Expos 3-2 tat Stade Olympique. He then closed out the year with a 2-1 victory over Paul Byrd & the Braves.

For the season Trachsel fell off to 12- 13 record. He pitched another 200 plus innings striking out 117 batters & walked 83 posting a 4.00 ERA in 33 starts. His wins were second to Glavine on the staff & he tied him for most starts. That year he batted .188 with eleven hits & five RBIs.

2005: Trachsel started to suffer back problems which led to a herniated disk and him missing most of the 2005 season. The Mets added Kris Benson & Victor Zambrano but neither made much of a difference. He returned on August 26th in San Francisco and pitched eight shutout innings, striking out six batters. 

He made six starts in September but lost each one to go 1-4 on the year. That season the Mets Pedro Martinez to the staff, Carlos Beltran to the offense & Willie Randolph took over as a manger. The team improved to 83-79, twelve more wins than the previous year.

2006 NL Eastern Champion Season: As Trachsel returned to the rotation he found himself on a first-place powerful team that put up a lot of runs. The additions of Carlos Delgado, Paul LoDuca, Jose Valentin & Billy Wagner as closer were huge improvements.

Steve earned his first win in fourth game of the season, a solid outing allowing just a run to the Marlins in six innings of work striking out a season high six. He would K six in a game three times that year.

After a loss he pitched six innings in San Francisco allowing just a run on three hits in a 4-1 win over the Giants. On April 30th in Atlanta the Braves roughed him up for six earned runs as he exited in the fourth inning in the 8-5 loss.

Steve would give up six runs, on five different occasions on the season, only suffering a losing decision twice. On July 24th he gave up a season high eight runs to his former Cubs team, in a 8-7 loss.

He found himself at 2-4 at the end of May but as the Mets team went on a roll so did Trachsel, he won seven straight decisions from June 9th to July 14th. He also won twelve of thirteen games over a three-month period to the start of September. The Mets were giving him a lot of run support as he allowed two runs or less in five of those 12 wins.

Mets Career HR: On June 20th he hit his third career HR, his only as a Met as he connected off the Reds Elizardo Ramirez in a 9-2 Mets win.

On the season he won 15 games again (7th most in the NL) which tied him for most on the Mets staff with Tom Glavine. Trachsel was 15-8 with 79 strike outs & 78 walks in 164.2 innings pitched. He served up 23 HRs in 30 starts & 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 & ended his Mets career. 

The Mets entered the post season without Pedro Martinez, their top pitcher & also Orlando
Hernandez was out as well.

2006 Post Season- NLDS: Trachsel got the NLDS start in Game #3 in Los Angeles with the Mets up two games to none to the Dodgers& chance to clinch the series. The Mets jumped out to a 4-0 lead off Greg Maddux, Trachsel gave up two runs on three hits and was removed by the 4th inning. 

2006 NLCS:
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 to check on him, 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 had given up & didn’t seem to care about the big situation the team was in. So, the 15-game winner was pushed to the background and never seen again in a Mets uniform. In Game #7 the Mets went with Oliver Perez who had only pitched in seven games for them going 1-3 that season as a late addition, but here he put in a good effort allowing a run in six innings. The Mets lost the game & the series.

Mets Career Stats: In his six-year Mets career Trachsel made 160 appearances. He went 66-59 (11th most Mets wins & 12th most losses) with a 4.09 ERA. He struck out 580 batters & walked 354 (10th most in Mets history) allowing 124 HRs in 956.1 innings of work (15th most in Mets history).

Mets Leader Board: He is tenth on the all time Mets list with 66 victories & eleventh with 59 loses. He is 15th in Mets history with 580 strike outs & 12th in starts with 160.

Post Mets Career:
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 which was his last season, going 2-5 in his final ten games.

Career Stats: Overall in his 16-year career he was 143-159 & a 4.39 ERA. He had 1591 strike outs & 943 walks in 2501 innings pitched. He allowed 348 HRs pitching 20 complete games with seven shut outs in 420 appearances (417 starts).

Family: Steve has been married twice & has three children.

Hobbies: During his time in New York, he became a much more involved wine enthusiast. Manager Bobby Valentine introduced him to folks at Kobrand Wine during a golf outing & they sent him two cases of Italian & French wine. 

He now lives in Southern California & has a custom-built wine cellar able to store 2000 bottles.

Retirement: In 2011 he returned to New York attending the ten-year anniversary of the 911 attack ceremonies at Citi Field. 

Old Timers Day 2022: In 2022 he returned to the Mets & participated in the Old Times Day events. He even pitched in the game.


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