Dave Trautwein loved growing up and playing baseball in Barrington.
He left to play ball for the University of North Carolina and pitch for the New York Mets from 1987 to 1991. With his southern belle wife, he returned to start his own family—which now includes three athletic kids, ages 14, 12 and 7—and launch a successful baseball school and travel team program, Professional Baseball Instruction of Illinois (PBI).
This 6-foot-5 open and outgoing man loves the game, loves his life and loves to teach.
Sitting in the game room of the 22,000-square-foot PBI complex, next to a table full of trophies, Trautwein grins, “I love when a kid can’t play and two years later he makes the high school team!” He continues, “And I love when a father writes me a letter saying that I was important in his son’s life.”
Trautwein’s passion for baseball and his community helped grow an extraordinary program, serving 500 to 750 youth at any time. The paid, professional PBI coaches dress in full uniform to teach skills to beginners through Division 1 college recruited athletes, and run travel teams carefully selected to create a good experience for the players.
“We don’t overmatch kids. We don’t want them to fail,” he explains. “If we do it right, kids enjoy the game.” More than 85 percent of the kids on his teams returned to tryouts the following year.
Trautwein fosters broader community, too. Major league players practice at PBI during the off-season and help teach holiday clinics. He took PBI to underserved kids in Chicago, bringing them out to Barrington for a three-day summer clinic in 2009. The company also spends thousands of dollars each year donating packages to local charity auctions. Trautwein particularly enjoys growing friendships between players who are likely to be competitors once they make their respective high school teams.
He smiles as he describes his future plans to expand PBI’s softball program and adds, “I just want to keep teaching the game that I love.”