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Billy Traber

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William Henry Traber, Jr.

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On July 8, 2003, Billy Traber pitched a one-hit shutout against the New York Yankees, winning 4-0. He was a 23-year-old rookie at the time, in the midst of a season in which he went 6-9, 5.24 in 33 games, and it was the only complete game of his career; moreover, no other pitcher for the Cleveland Indians would pitch a one-hitter until Josh Tomlin did so on June 28, 2014.

Traber was a 1st-round selection by the New York Mets in the 2000 amateur draft, 16th overall, out of Loyola Marymount University. He began his professional career in 2001, going 10-9, 3.09 in 27 games for three minor league teams, moving allt he way up to AAA. After the season, he was traded to Cleveland as part of the package of players sent to the Indians in return for 2B Roberto Alomar. He then had an outstanding season in the minors in 2002, with a record of 17-5, 2.94 between the AA Akron Aeros (13-2, 2.76) and the AAA Buffalo Bisons (4-3, 3.29). He pitched 162 1/3 innings, striking out 115.

He made the Indians' team out of spring training in 2003, spending the entire season in the big leagues, with so-so results. He missed all of 2004 with an arm injury, then was released and picked up by the Boston Red Sox, who let him go within a month in December, allowing Billy to sign again with the Indians. Back in the minors in 2005, he worked his way back to AAA with stops in Class A with the Kinston Indians and in AA with Akron before making it back to Buffalo. Overall, his record was 8-11, 4.83; he did well in the lower levels, but was victimized with a 3-7 record and a 5.75 ERA in the International League. He was released again, and had to wait until the end of spring training in 2006 to find another team, signing with the Washington Nationals. He returned to the majors on April 20th, winning as a starter, 10-4, over the Philadelphia Phillies, but was back in the minors after just one other appearance, going 7-7, 4.05 in 21 starts for the New Orleans Zephyrs. The Nationals brought him back in August and he ended the year at 4-3, 6.44 in the National League. He also split 2007 between the Nats and the minors; he was mainly a reliever in the big leagues, with a record of 2-2, 4.76 in 28 games and was 2-3, 2.90 in 14 games for the Columbus Clippers.

Traber signed with the New York Yankees before the 2008 season, starting the season in pinstripes. He put up a 4.50 ERA in 11 April games but was sent down to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, where he pitched 40 games with a record of 2-1, 3.40 and 4 saves. He spent three more stints in New York, but saw his ERA rise with each stay, and he ended up with a fat 7.02 ERA in 18 games. The Red Sox were next to give him a shot and he was with the Pawtucket Red Sox for most of 2009, with a record of 7-8, 3.52 as a swingman. He got to pitch one final time in the majors that year, on August 6th when he gave up 5 runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 13-6 loss to the Yankees in what turned out to be his final big league appearance. He then only pitched 7 games for the Tacoma Rainiers in the Seattle Mariners organization in 2010, with a loss and a 3.86 ERA. He called it a career in July. In 5 big league seasons, he had gone 12-14, 5.65, and 53-45, 3.59 in 8 seasons in the minors.

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