Steve Trachsel knows he will go down in history for the wrong reason.
"There's nothing cool about it," the Chicago Cubs' right-hander said after surrendering home run No. 62 to Mark McGwire on Tuesday night. "There was no joy involved in it for me, seeing his reactions and all that type of thing."Since Trachsel's a 51-51 career pitcher, that's probably the only way he'll go down in history. The initial postgame thought from the right-hander: "I was hoping it wasn't going to be me."
But since McGwire is in the high-volume homer business, it was perhaps fitting that Trachsel, who led the National League in homers allowed last year, was the victim. McGwire's historic homer was one of three given up in a 6-2 loss by Trachsel, who served up 32 gopher balls last year and has allowed 22 so far this season.
McGwire's fourth-inning homer makes the list of unwitting accomplices one name longer. Comparables over the years: Tom Zachary, who gave up Babe Ruth's 60th homer in 1927; Tracy Stallard, the victim for Roger Maris' 61st homer in 1961; and Al Downing, who was touched for home run No. 715 by Hank Aaron in 1974.
Not that Trachsel, cool, calm and collected in a Cubs clubhouse that worried more about the wild-card race, seemed too worried about his peculiar place in history.
"Maybe when my career is over I'll think about it," he said. "Right now it's just another home run. I've given up a billion of them."