Steven Travers has always been entrepreneurial.
“I was turned down by my high school newspaper because they didn’t allow freshmen,” says the sixth-generation Californian, “so I started my own!”
Aside from journalism, Travers was a pitcher for three years of baseball for the same suburban California high school that USC football coach Pete Carroll graduated from years earlier. Travers helped lead his team to the mythical national championship of high school baseball, according to polls conducted by Collegiate Baseball magazine and the Easton Bat Company.
Travers attended college on a baseball scholarship, where he was an all-conference pitcher, and played collegiate summer ball in Colorado, Nevada and Canada. The 6-6, 225-pound Travers played professionally for the St. Louis Cardinals' organization, where he was a teammate of Danny Cox. Travers once struck out 1989 National League Most Valuable Player Kevin Mitchell three times in one game (he K’d 14 that night). In the Oakland Athletics' system, he played alongside Jose Canseco.
“Punching out K-Mitchell was great,” he recalls, “but the highlight of my career may have been when I was with the A’s against the Giants in a Major League exhibition game at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. I struck out the side and went nine-up, nine-down in three innings. Bill King and Lon Simmons announced it on the radio.”
Steve later coached at USC, Cal-Berkeley and was recruited to manage a team in Berlin, Germany.
After pro baseball, Travers returned to college. He studied in the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications. At USC, he was a classmate of Mark McGwire and Randy Johnson. After graduation, he traveled extensively to New York City, Washington, D.C. and to Europe: London and Paris.
“I almost went to work for Dean Witter in the World Trade Center,” he recalled. “After 9/11 I really started to think about ‘what might have been.’ ”
Travers also went to Western State University College of Law, the Hollywood Film Institute, and was part of the UCLA Writers' Program.
He served in the U.S. Army during the Persian Gulf War, and was a political consultant, speechwriter and campaign manager for a California Congressional candidate. Travers was also a sports agent, co-founding San Francisco Sports Management, Inc. The agency represented Pittsburgh Pirate outfielder Al Martin. Another client, ex-Angels' playboy pitcher Bo Belinsky, was at that time being approached by Hollywood producers about a movie depicting his tempestuous life. Travers wrote the screenplay.
That script, Once He Was An Angel, was a quarterfinalist in the Quantum Leap screenwriting contest before getting optioned by a Hollywood producing group that included Frank Capra Jr. and Frank Capra III (son and grandson of the famed It's A Wonderful Life director). Thus began Travers' embarkation into a full-time professional writing career in 1994.
“I’ve punched a lot of tickets,” Travers says of his background, “and I bring real-world experience to my writing.”
A veteran of Hollywood, Steve has written 15 screenplays, teleplays and stageplays. His credits include The Lost Battalion (the true story of a World War I unit during the Argonne Offensive, the subject of a film starring Rick Schroder), Wicked and Baja California. His additional writing awards are for Bandit, an America’s Best quarterfinalist, and Rock 'n' Roll Heaven, a Writers Network Screenplay & Fiction quarterfinalist. He appeared in the film The Californians, starring Noah Wylie and Illeana Douglas.
Travers worked closely with legendary Hollywood producer Edgar Scherick, the original producer of The Lost Battalion. Scherick started ABC’s Baseball Game of the Week and Monday Night Football with Roone Arledge.
Travers also wrote for the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, and was a sports stringer on San Diego’s XTRA 690 AM radio station. Steve has freelanced for magazines, newspapers and web sites. He produced Steven Travers’ Journal on the Internet. Eventually, Travers became the number one columnist at StreetZebra, an L.A. sports magazine where he covered the USC beat and wrote a monthly "Distant Replay" of great events in the Southland's rich sports history.
“I have encyclopedic knowledge of history,” Steve says. “I am truly versatile as a writer, able to use my knowledge of the past to understand the present. I have also survived as a freelancer; written extensively for the Internet and the so-called New Media; and have up-close knowledge of the ‘dot-bomb’ era that was the 1990s.”
In 2001, Travers was hired as the lead sports columnist for the San Francisco Examiner. While writing for the Examiner, Travers was an eyewitness to Barry Bonds' historic 73-home run season of 2001. He got Bonds to agree to authorize the writing of his autobiography, but a business deal with the publishers was not worked out. Eventually, by 2002 Travers wrote the Best Seller Barry Bonds: Baseball’s Superman from Sports Publishing L.L.C. (www.sportspublishingllc.com). Actor Charlie Sheen wrote the foreword. It has gone through multiple re-prints, is now in paperback, and was nominated for a Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year. A sequel, covering Bonds' alleged steroid use, additional MVP awards, and chase of Hank Aaron's career home run record, is in the works.
In 2004, Travers wrote a proposal for the book that eventually became Game of Shadows by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, who landed the deal he did not.
An avid reader, Travers poured through books, at least one a month; classics, biographies, history, sports, novels, philosophy. He was also a Christian, but had never read The Holy Bible.
"Sometime around March or April of 2004, I decided to read The Bible," he says. "Two pages a day. I started out with the New Testament. After a while I began to read out loud, which made a difference. Then the Old Testament. It took a little less than a year to read the entire book. As soon as I read it through, I started again. Two pages per day, out loud. At this point I have read it twice through. I am beginning to understand it. I am not an expert on it, but the Holy Spirit has come to me and inspires me each day that I read God’s Word. I will read that book until the day I die, God willing and I am able, until some day I will have read it so many times I will be an expert. . .”
In 2006, Taylor Trade, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. (www.RLPGTrade.com), published his book The USC Trojans: College Football's All-Time Greatest Dynasty, which argues that the University of Southern California has replaced Notre Dame as collegiate football's greatest tradition. USC legend Charles "Tree" Young graciously wrote the foreword, and the book ascended to Amazon.com “top seller” and National Book Network “top 100 seller” status. It was re-released in paperback in 2010.
Taylor Trade released One Night, Two Teams: Alabama vs. USC and the Game That Changed A Nation in 2007 (foreword by Forrest Gump author Winston Groom). It was re-released in paperback in 2010. This is the true story of how the 1970 USC-Alabama football game ushered in desegregation of the American South. A film is in development. USC graduate Kerry McCluggage, a top Hollywood producer (Craftsman Films); former president of Universal and Paramount TV divisions; founder of UPN; with credits that include Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Miami Vice, has optioned it with plans for a major theatrical release. The co-producer is Barry Kemp (Coach, Patch Adams, Catch Me If You Can). Potential directors include Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman, Delores Claiborne, The Devil’s Advocate) and Kevin Costner (Dances With Wolves), with Costner possibly starring as John McKay, Tommy Lee Jones as Bear Bryant.
Travers is a member of a “producer team” that includes Trojan football legend Anthony Davis and USC graduate Jim Starr. The deal was masterfully put together by Lloyd Robinson (USC ’64) of Suite A Management in Beverly Hills; Steve’s former literary agent, Craig Wiley; and Rowman & Littlefield president Rick Rinehart. Davis is on board to promote the project along with other former Trojans. When the film is released, Travers, Davis and Starr will be executive producers. In the past, Steve was repped by Peter Miller of PMA Literary & Film Agency in New York City. His agent is now Ian Kleinert of Objective Entertainment in Manhattan (who negotiated the huge Jerry West autobiography and Michael Savage’s Trickle Up Poverty).
In 2009, Taylor Trade published Pigskin Warriors: 140 Years of College Football’s Greatest Traditions, Games, and Stars. In 2009, major publishing house The Globe Pequot Press published Travers’s book The 1969 Miracle Mets (foreword by Buddy Harrelson). Also in 2009: Dodgers Past & Present, Voyageur Press and A Tale of Three Cities: The 1962 Baseball Season in New York, L.A., and San Francisco. In 2011: The Poet: The Life and Los Angeles Times of Jim Murray, an authorized biography through Potomac Books.
Triumph Books (www.triumphbooks.com), a division of New York publishing giant Random House, released five of Travers's books in 2007: A's Essential: Everything You Need to Know to Be A Real Fan! (foreword by A’s GM Billy Beane), Dodgers Essential (foreword by the late, great Bud “The Steamer” Furillo), Angels Essential (foreword by ex-L.A. Times sportswriter Ross Newhan), Diamondbacks Essential (foreword by Phoenix radio personality Andy Dorf), and The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly Los Angeles Lakers (foreword by longtime sports columnist Art Spander).
In 2008 Triumph/Random House published Trojans Essential (foreword by ex-Coca-Cola/North American President Terry Marks) and The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly Oakland Raiders (foreword by radio personality Bruce Macgowan). In 2009 from Triumph/Random House: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly San Francisco 49ers (foreword by 49er Hall of Famer Bob St. Clair) and What It Means to Be a Trojan: Southern Cal’s Greatest Players Talk About Trojans Football (foreword by Pete Carroll).
Steve is the author of five unpublished books. These include From the Frat House to the White House to the Big House; God's Country, a three-volume conservative, Christian worldview of how history formed the U.S. Empire and America's manifest destiny for the 21st Century; Ambition: My Struggles to Fail and Succeed in Baseball, Politics, Hollywood, Writing . . . and The Rocky Path I’ve Walked With Christ (his autobiography); a novel, Angry White Male; and a compilation of his work over the years, The Writer’s Life.
Travers contemplated an authorized autobiography of former New York Mets’ superstar Tom Seaver; a book about fascinating baseball pitching subjects; and a study of the modern nature of American politics and media manipulation, using the Whittaker Chambers case of the 1940s as its “Genesis.”
The telegenic Travers has made numerous appearances on television and radio, being interviewed for the books, articles and screenplays he has written over the years. His national appearances have included "The Jim Rome Show", CNN, ESPN, and the Armed Forces Radio Network. He has appeared on TV and radio stations in major markets such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In September 2005, Steve was interviewed on College Sports Television (www.cstv.com), a division of CBS, as part of a program devoted to the 35th anniversary of the 1970 USC-Alabama game. In February 2006, CSTV featured Travers prominently in their documentary Tackling Segregation, which aired throughout Black History Month. His work was also the subject of a 2005 CSTV documentary on Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
In 2006, Travers was a guest speaker, leading a panel of distinguished former USC football players and coaches, for Professor Dan Durbin’s popular class “Sports, Culture & Society” at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communications. The subject was the 1970 USC-Alabama game, with Steve’s book a focal point. Out of this have come discussions with USC regarding Steve’s possible hiring as an adjunct professor. Travers made numerous other speaking and booksigning appearances through USC, which included appearances at the USC Bookstore, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and the USC Collections at the South Coast Plaza Shopping Center in Orange County.
In 2007, he addressed the USC East Bay Trojan Club in Walnut Creek, California; the incoming freshmen and parents during Parent’s Weekend at USC; the USC Orange County Trojan Club; as well as more signings at the USC Bookstore and USC Collections; and an address of the Hollywood Congress of Republicans; and the annual banquet of the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Professor Durbin invited him back for a retrospective of the 1972 USC national champion football team at Annenberg School for Communications. In 2008 Travers addressed Republican political groups in support of U.S. Senator John McCain (R.-Arizona).
During the 2008 football season, Travers was again a guest lecturer in Professor Durbin's class. The subject was his book Angels Essential, and focused on "the old Pacific Coast League and the early Angels). He was the November speaker at the prestigious Pasadena Quarterback's Club next to the Rose Bowl (past speakers have included Pete Carroll), and signed books at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the third consecutive year. In 2009 Travers again was a guest panelist in Professor Durbin’s class, centered around a re-union of the USC players interviewed in What It Means to Be a Trojan.
Steve is the scion of a distinguished California family. The Travers’s came to colonial America, fought in the Revolutionary War, and settled into New York and Massachusetts. They founded the Travers Stakes horse race. One ancestor, a Captain Edgerly of the Union Army, was reputed to be President Abraham Lincoln’s “personal spy” during the Civil War. Steve’s side of the family came West during the time of the 1849 Gold Rush. His grandfather, Charles S. Travers, covered the 1906 Great Earthquake as a journalist, started a silent film magazine in Hollywood, and was President of the San Francisco Press Club. Steve’s great-uncle, Reginald Travers, was a noted Shakespearean actor. His father, Donald Travers, is a retired attorney and track coach who served as a Naval officer during World War II. His mother, Inge Travers, is a renowned artist. Steve’s brother, Donald Travers II, is a former Naval officer. Daughter Elizabeth Travers is a college student. Inside Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium is the Colonel Charles Travers Big Game Room (named after Steve’s late uncle, who served during World War II) to accommodate press conferences, and (named after Steve’s late aunt) is the Louise Travers Memorial Club Room. Colonel Travers also founded a wing of the university’s political science department, dedicated to fair and balanced analysis of public affairs. Members of the Travers family have served in the military during the Revolution, the Civil War, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War.
His books and further information be found at
His web page is
Steve is a board member of the USC NorCal Trojan Club, the Hollywood Congress of Republicans, and worships at Christ Lutheran Church. Steve tutored foreign students trying to learn English, as well as jail inmates, through the Marin Literacy Program.
"I always wanted to give of my time," he explained, "but was too selfish to really do it. I found excuses. If at the beginning of 2006, if you had told me how busy I would be, I never would have signed up, but I did. I was assigned to a Korean divinity student named Kyung-Taek Hong. We became friends and shared Christian fellowship despite the language barrier. Almost as soon as I started tutoring Kyung, incredible good fortune began to reign down on me. Book deals, the movie deal, speaking engagements, ‘top seller’ sales, maybe a professorship at USC. As busy as I was writing, I met him every Wednesday for an hour and a half at the library. I consider him my ‘angel.’
After Kyung moved on to a Ph.D. program in Chicago, Travers taught a class at the Marin County Jail, then volunteered to work with high school kids.
“As Jim Hill always says as his signature signoff on of his sports show, ‘Keep the faith.’”