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Mike Trout: Arguably the Best, Definitely the Richest, Player in the League

May 09, 2019 8 min read

Mike Trout: Arguably the Best, Definitely the Richest, Player in the League

The Millville Meteor: Seven-time MLB All-Star, six-time winner of the Silver Slugger Award, and winner of the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

Mike Trout's titles and accolades precede him, and that's just a tiny piece of his many achievements. Center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels, this MLB all-star stands in a class all by himself. He's a force to be reckoned with on the baseball field and is a sports memorabilia giant off the field.

In 2019, he smashed records after accepting the richest contract in the history of North American sports, all $426.5 million of it. Of course, a long history of athletic achievements paved the way, stretching back to his teenage years.

It’s time to take a deeper look into the player who many consider to be the very best in Major League Baseball.

MLB Baseball in His Blood

The son of Jeff and Debbie Trout, Mike was born in Vineland, New Jersey on August 7th, 1991. The youngest of three children, he grew up in nearby Millville, New Jersey, enjoying a relatively quiet childhood.

Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels Sports Memorabilia

As with many supremely talented players, baseball was in his blood. Trout's father played for the University of Delaware, and later the Minnesota Twins, in the mid-1980s as a fifth-round draft pick.

Jeff played second base, but just four years into his career, numerous knee injuries and a torn plantar fascia curbed his MLB ambitions.

Trout's grandfather was a high school standout, and his great-grandfather even earned the title "Bat Trout," because he was the best left-handed hitter in southern New Jersey. 

It's no wonder Trout proved the most naturally athletic player on the field as early as T-ball. He played Cal Ripken Baseball growing up, a division of the Babe Ruth League, mainly as a shortstop.

Throughout his little league years, he wore #2 to pay homage to New York Yankees' Derek Jeter, his childhood hero. He graduated from Millville Senior High School in 2009.

The year prior, he attended the World Series parade for the Philadelphia Phillies because of his die-hard devotion to the team.

A Promising Start for Mike Trout

During his time at Millville Senior High School, Trout played both basketball and baseball, though he would change from his signature #2 to #1. As a result of his athletic achievements, he earned three letters for baseball and two for basketball.

Highlights of his high school years included pitching a no-hitter against neighboring Egg Harbor Township High School. He also played travel ball with the Tri-State Arsenal. As the number one travel team in the Northeast, Trout played in many of their championships. These included the 2007 and 2008 Perfect Game WWBA Championships held in Florida. 

MLB Most Valuable Player Mike Trout Sports Memorabilia

The summer before his senior year, Trout played in Southern California's Area Code Games. There, he went 6-for-11 against the country's best players and earned praise from Angels scout Greg Morhardt.

Morhardt, who played ball with Trout's father Jeff in the minor leagues, claimed that he'd never seen a 17-year-old player with as much strength and agility as Trout. 

Over his high school years, Trout played a number of positions, including pitcher and shortstop, before eventually moving to the outfield his senior year. That same year, he set a New Jersey school record after hitting 18 home runs.

Getting to the Big Leagues

In 2009, Trout became the 25th overall pick in the MLB Draft. Using their compensation pick from the NY Yankees for signing Mark Teixeira, the Angels chose Trout. That year, he launched his professional career playing for the Arizona Angels.

He impressed with solid performances, including a batting average of .360, 25 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, and one home run. Despite his stellar track record though, he lost out to Cody Decker for AZL Most Valuable Player. 

Trout finished the season with the Class A Midwest League Cedar Rapids Kernels, where he averaged .267 during five games, with more than 20 plate appearances. 

By 2010, he'd risen through the ranks to become the Angels' third-best pick. That year, he ranked the 85th best player in all of baseball. In 2011, he was named number one in the top 100 list of prospects by Keith Law of ESPN.

Playing with the Class AA Texas League Arkansas Travelers that year, Trout batted .324, earning 27 RBIs, nine home runs, and 28 stolen bases in the first 75 games alone.

When Angels Get Their Wings

On July 8, 2011, Trout landed the centerfield position on the Los Angeles Angels, replacing the injured Peter Bourjos. His MLB debut started slowly when he went 0-for-3, but it would not stay that way for long.

He recorded his first hit in the majors during the next game going up against Seattle Mariners pitcher Michael Pineda during the bottom of the third. Later that season, he hit his first homer off Mark Worrell, of the Baltimore Orioles. 

Besides these highlights, however, his first MLB showing didn't shine as brightly as he'd hoped. He finished with a batting average of .163 with six RBIs, and the one previously mentioned home run. This meant a return to Arkansas on August 1st.

By the 19th, he was back in action for the Angels, going 1-for-4 and hitting his first home run in Angel Stadium. By August 30th, he made history as the youngest Angel to hit two home runs during one game. 

Mike Trout Framed MVP Photo Sports Memorabilia

Finishing the season with a batting average of .220, Trout earned USA Today's Minor League Player of the Year Award and Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year award.

After 91 games, he averaged .326 with 38 RBI's and 11 home runs. The Millville Meteor was on the rise. 

Rise of a Baseball Legend 

At the start of 2012, Trout played with the Class AAA Pacific Coast League's Salt Lake Bees, earning a .403 batting average. By April, he returned to the majors for the Angels where he continued to push the athletic performance envelope.

Highlights from that year include Trout's first four-hit game. During this time, he went 12-for-25 ranking an impressive batting average of .520 with 10 RBIs and four stolen bases.

Trout's skills proved more than just offense focused too. In a now iconic moment, he leaped an inhuman distance into the air to rob the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy of a home run.

2012 represented a banner year for Trout. He continued to smash records, becoming the youngest player in MLB history to steal 30 bases and hit 20 home runs. He also scored more runs that season than any other Angel before him.

The next season started much more slowly for Trout. He struggled, later explaining that he put too much pressure on himself chasing pitches out of the strike zone.

He would come back in a big way on May 21, 2013, becoming the youngest to ever hit for the cycle in baseball history. Later that year, he represented the Angels in the MLB All-Star Game.

Mike Trout Framed Sports Memorabilia

Becoming Most Valuable Player 

By 2014, rumors swirled of a $150 million Mike Trout contract to play with the Angels for six years, but Trout surprised everybody when he signed a one-year $1 million contract. By March 2014, a six-year $144.5 million extension sat in place. 

At Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, Trout hit the longest home run of the 2014 season on June 27th, a whopping 489 feet straight into left field.

In June, Trout played in his third All-Star Game. During the game at Target Field in Minnesota, Trout performed with the same athleticism that had garnered him awards in previous years, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs, including a double and a triple.

It's little wonder he was named the Most Valuable Player of the game, which put him in a class just behind Ken Griffey, Jr. as the second youngest All-Star Game MVP in history.  

In 157 games that year, he batted .287 with 11 RBIs, 36 home runs, and 39 doubles. Trout also struggled with a less desirable 184 strikeouts; a league high. He worked with the Angels' staff to fix the strikeout issue. 

Despite his high number of strikeouts, Trout performed big for the Angels. The Baseball Writers' Association of America acknowledged this on November 13, 2014.

They unanimously awarded him the coveted American League Most Valuable Player award. Trout became the sixth player in baseball history to earn both the AL MVP and the All-Star Game MVP during the same season. 

Smashing Through the Record Books

By April 2015, Trout smashed through yet another record, becoming the youngest player in baseball history to reach 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases in a career. He also clinched the record as one of only two Angels to ever hit 40 homers in one season.

During the 2015 All-Star Game, he led off the game with a home run, the fifth person in the history of the game to do so.

Finishing the season with 90 RBIs and 41 home runs, Trout remained on fire. Nominated again for the AL MVP, he lost to Josh Donaldson, but it still made him the first player since Barry Bonds to get nominated four times in a row. 

Autographed Mike Trout Baseball Memorabilia

2016 brought with it more accolades and achievements. Sporting News named Trout the best baseball player of the season. 

Mike Trout stats for 2016 included batting .315, 100 RBIs, and 29 home runs. He also led the MLB in runs scored, walks, and on-base percentage. It appeared that nothing could stop Trout from smashing through the record books again and again.

Overcoming Injury

However, injury loomed on the horizon.

At the end of May in 2017, Trout's customary #27 red jersey no longer graced the field. What initially appeared to be a strained left thumb, got diagnosed as a torn ulnar collateral ligament, which required surgery and six to eight weeks of recovery.

Prior to the injury, Trout was batting .337 and blasted 16 home runs. Slated to star in the All-Star Game as an outfielder, he couldn't play. He also missed 39 regular Angels' games before getting reactivated on July 14th.

Yet, in true Trout style, he came back with gusto. By his 26th birthday, he hit a home run, which also marked his 1,001st hit, and in September, he beat Albie Pearson's 1961 franchise record when he drew a walk in his 14th contest in a row.

Despite only playing 114 games that season due to his injury, Trout led the Angels in batting average, .361, as well as 33 home runs and 92 RBIs.

By the end of the 2017 season, Trout also enjoyed the honor of selection to Baseball America's All-MLB Team as a center fielder. 

The Legend Continues

Filling the role of a baseball legend by his mid-twenties proves an honor well-suited to Trout. Before the start of the 2018 season, Sports Illustrated named him the #1 player in baseball, and he wouldn't disappoint in 2018.

In Yankee Stadium on May 26th, he went 5-for-5, with a home run and three doubles, his first career five-hit game. 

A monster on the baseball field despite the previous year's injury, he batted .312 with 50 RBIs and 25 homers. In the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, he played as a starting outfielder and had a home run and a walk. 

By 2019, he signed his astonishing $426.5 million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Angels solidifying his spot on the team for the next 12 years. In April, Trout was honored as the AL Player of the Week for the fourth time in his career.

His first homer of the season shot 422 feet to center after leaving his bat at 110.8 mph. If that's any indication of the season to come, then Trout's still the man to

watch.  Mike Trout Signed Sports Memorabilia

Where Will Trout’s Career Lead?

Mike Trout continues to dominate baseball, looking well on his way to a Hall of Famecareer, and has definitely proven he's no flash in the pan when it comes to athletic achievements. 

The heir apparent to his family's long baseball history, seeing what's in store for Trout in 2019 will prove a dynamic, exciting experience for his fans.

Ready to gear up for the season with some Mike Trout sports memorabilia?

Whether you're looking for a signed baseball or an autographed photo, we've got you covered. Check out Powers Sports Memorabilia’s wide selection of Trout sports collectibles now. 

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