Mike Trout hit two home runs last night.
So, what’s the big deal? Trout does this kind of thing almost nightly, doesn’t he?
That’s the big deal. Trout’s brilliance is so brilliant that, the best player in the game is… wait for it…. often taken for granted.
That’s right. This generation’s Mickey Mantle is being taken for granted. The L.A. Angels outfielder’s greatness seems effortless. It’s not, of course, as like many great athletes, Trout works tirelessly to continue to improve.
Do baseball fans truly realize they are observing one of the finest players in the history of the game?
A look at the numbers reveals Trout’s greatness.
Over his first 6 seasons entering 2018, he has averaged 33 home runs, 92 rbi, 112 runs scored, 27 stolen bases, 94 walks, and hit .309. His on base percentage has been .415, slugging percentage .572 and OPS .986. He has ranked first among all players in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) 5 times. He was the Rookie of the Year, is a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, and has been selected to 7 All-Star teams. He’s won 2 MVP awards, finished 2nd three times (including his rookie season when he was 20 years old), and 4th once.
A quick comparison to Mantle’s first 6 years shows averages of 29 home runs, 96 rbi, 107 runs scored, 7 stolen bases, 87 walks, and a .308 batting average. His OBP was .407, he slugged .551, and his OPS was .959. He was selected to 5 All-Star games, was 1st in WAR twice, won a batting title and the triple crown. He received 1 MVP award, and finished 3rd once and 5th once.
Almost mirror images. Except that Mantle played in New York with the powerful Yankees, while Trout’s supporting cast has been mostly a mixed bag.
While Mantle admittedly battled some demons throughout his career, Trout jumps off the pages of a Chip Hilton novel. He displays humility and gratitude. He not only loves the game, but he treats fans like he is simply one of them.
Role model, superstar. He robs home runs in a single bound, is kind to children, and holds babies. He may actually be Superman disguised as an Angel.
Baseball fans, you have the privilege of witnessing one of the greatest players in the history of the game on display before you on a nightly basis. Trout is the ultimate biggest fish in a pretty big pond. (I had to say it.)
So, appreciate the opportunity and enjoy the experience.
*You can find hundreds of fun sports facts in my new book, The Average Joe’s Super Sports Almanac: https://steveriach.com/products/the-average-joes-super-sports-almanac