What else can Mike Trout do? The week before the All Star Game, he was named American League Player of the Week, he homered to lead off the All Star Game on Tuesday and won his second straight All Star MVP Award, becoming the only player in history ever to be MVP twice in a row, received the ESPY Award the next night as the Best Major League Baseball Player and hit a walk off home run, to beat the red Sox 1-0, the first game back after the All Star Break.
As a Yankee fan for all my life, I cannot help but compare Trout with Yankee great Micky Mantle. The similarities in their careers are amazing. Both broke into Major League baseball at the age of 19, Mantle at 19 years and 6 months, Trout at 19 years and 11 months, ( rounded off ).
Mantle, who spent his entire 18 year career with the Yankees, debuted on April 17, 1951 and Trout, who has spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Angels, debuted 60 years later on July 8, 2011. In Mantle’s 18 years, he averaged .298 and had 536 homers and 1,509 RBI’s.
Comparing Trout’s relatively brief career with Mantle’s eighteen years is difficult. Mantle had a career marred by an illness that makes you wonder what he might have done without the poliomyelitis that plagued him. Despite the problems with his legs, he was extremely fast on the bases and in the field, and was once quoted as saying ‘ Hitting the ball was easy, running around the bases was the hard part.’ Hopefully, Trout will be around for many years for us to enjoy watching and compare their careers. Trout has already stolen 111 bases compared to Mantle’s 153 in his career.
Trout was 23 years, 11 months and ten days old on Friday night when he hit the walk off homer against the Red Sox. When Mantle was exactly the same age, he had completed his fifth full year in baseball and was playing in his fourth World Series.
Mantle had hit 121 home runs and driven in 445 at that age and Trout had 125 homers and 363 RBI’s. Mantle’s average was .298, with 719 hits in 2411 at bats and Trout had hit .306 with 674 hits in 2,201 at bats. Mantle had played in 638 games and Trout 582.
Mantle won three Most Valuable Player Awards, won the Triple Crown in 1956, played in every All Star Game but one from 1952-1968 and played in 12 World Series. In his career, Trout has been named to four All Star teams, was Rookie of the Year in 2012, Most Valuable Player in 2014 and has led the league in runs scored for the past four years. He has only been in post season play one year but appears to be leading his team to the Playoffs this year.
Mike Trout has had a remarkable early career. He may be the best hitter in baseball today, with the possible exception of Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers. He is an exceptionally gifted outfielder with one of the best throwing arms among baseball outfielders and is an excellent base runner with the ability to steal bases.
There seems to be no limit to what Trout can accomplish at this point. He appears to give 100 percent all the time and plays the game with complete abandon. Hopefully, he will avoid serious injury and be around for us to enjoy for many years.
Whether he will and will continue to perform as he has in his brief career, no one knows, but he appears to have the ability to rewrite baseball’s record books. Certainly, the accomplishments of the last two weeks of his Major League career, would have constituted a great season for most players.
It is too early in Trout’s career to compare their careers and even more difficult to evaluate two players whose careers were separated by sixty years but these are obviously two of the most talented of all time before the age of 24.
I grew up watching Mantle and am growing old watching Trout. There were many other greats who I saw play during those years who may have been better, including center fielders like Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays and hitters like Ted Williams and Stan Musial but the careers of these two are remarkably similar and perhaps no pair possessed comparable all around ability.