Born: August 7, 1991
Town: Millville, New Jersey
Michael Nelson Trout was born in Millville, New Jersey on August 7, 1991. Mike’s parents are Jeff, a former minor leaguer, and Debbie Trout. Mike was a baseball prodigy as a kid. At the age of 9, he was the best player in a league of 12-year-olds. He wore the number 2 in honor of his favorite player, Derek Jeter. In high school he switched to number 1.
Mike attended Millville Senior High. He was the fastest kid anyone had ever seen, getting from home to first in under four seconds. This is impressive for a lefty, but Mike is a righty. Under coach Roy Hallenbeck, Mike was a standout as a pitcher, shortstop, and centerfielder.
In his junior year, Mike threw a no-hitter against Egg Harbor Township, man-handling them with 18 strikeouts in a seven-inning game. Mike had several scouts looking at him, but many were gun shy when it came to recommending him as a first-rounder, because in recent years several NJ high-schoolers had gone bust after going high in the draft. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had no such worries. They made him one their two first-round picks in the 2009 draft.
Mike terrorized opposing pitchers in rookie ball, hitting .360 in 39 games. He continued to play well over the next two seasons and earned a call to the big leagues after the 2011 All-Star break. In two stints with the Angels in the second half he batted .220 with 5 homers.
Mike started the 2012 season off in class-AAA Salt Lake City, where he hit over .400 in 20 games. That was his final stint in the minors. Mike got called up in late-April and never looked back, making highlight reel plays on offense and defense. He was voted onto the All-Star team and had a hit and a walk in two plate appearances.
By season’s end, Mike had shattered countless team and league rookie records. He also became the first player in history with 30 homers, 45 stolen bases and 125 runs in the same season. His final numbers were .326 (2nd in the AL) with 30 homers, 129 runs, 83 RBIs and a league-best 49 stolen bases. Mike was a no-brainer pick for Rookie of the Year and finished second Miguel Cabrera in the MVP voting.
Mike did not miss a beat in 2013. Pitchers gave him less to hit, but he was patient enough to bat .323 (3rd in the AL) and lead the league with 110 walks. His power numbers were exceptional—39 doubles, 9 triples and 27 homers— and he led the AL in runs again with 109. He also stole 33 bases. Mike started for the AL in the All-Star Game and went 1-for-3 in a 3–0 victory. He was runner-up to Cabrera in the MVP tally for the second year in a row.
Mike continued to rake in 2014, ranking among the league leaders in slugging, total bases, homers, doubles and RBIs. He slammed a double and triple in the All-Star Game and was named MVP of the midseason classic. More important, the Angels were part of the playoff picture as the season headed into the home stretch, with more wins than any team in baseball besides the division-rival A’s. He finished the season with 36 homers, a league-leading 111 RBIs and 338 total bases, which was also tops in the AL.
Against the underdog Kansas City Royals in the playoffs, Mike went hitless in two extra-inning home losses tostart the series. He led off Game 3 with a long home run, but did no more damage as KC swept the series with an 8–3 victory. After the season, Mike was named unanymously as the Most Valuable Player in the American League. He and Mickey Mantle are the only two players to finish as runner-up twice before winning the award. At 23, he was the youngest player to win the award unanimously.
And...most importantly, Mike was the first new Jersey-born player to be named AL MVP!
For much of the 2015 season, Mike looked like a good bet to win back-to-back MVPs. He ended up finishing second to Josh Donaldson, but put up fabulous numbers nonetheless. Early in the year, he became the youngest player ever to reach 100 homers and 100 stolen bases, slipping ahed of Alex Rodriguez. In July, Mike led off the All-Star Game with a home run and was named MVP of the game again. He finished the year with a .299 average, 41 home runs, 90 RBIs and a league-leading .590 slugging average. The Angels finished a game out of the Wild Card, denying Mike a return trip to the playoffs.
The excitement Angels fans felt in 2015 wasn't therein 2016. The club disintegrated and Mike's fine season was the only reason Anahaeim fans kept coming to the park. As it turned out, there was no runaway MVP choice in the league that season. Donaldson was having another good year and Mookie Betts came into his own for the Red Sox. But despite the fact that these players were in a panneant race, as the season wore on, it became increasingly clear that Mike was the league's best all-aorund player. He finished the season with 29 homers, 30 steals, 100 RBIs and a ,315 average. Mike alsoled the league with 123 runs and was walked 116 times—more thanyone in the majors. Obviously, opponents were pitching around him. Mike took the walks to help the team, which undoubtedly cost him in the power department.
When the MVP voting was tabulated, Mike edged Betts for his second award. It marked the fifth year in a row he'd finished first or second. With Rick Porcello of Morristown being named the AL Cy Young winner, it marked the first time two New Jerseyans had won major baseball awards in the same season.
Mike was on an MVP pace again in 2017 when a thumb injury sidelined him for six weeks. He returned to the field in mid-July, just after the All-Star Game (in which he had been voted a starting outfield spot). On August 7th, Mike doubled for his 1000th hit. He homered later in the game, marking the fourth time in six seasons he had left the yard on his birthday. The Angels made a brief run at the Wild Card over the summer, powered as usual by Mike, who finished with the league's best on-base percentage (.442( and slugging average (.629). He batted .306 with 33 homers despite missing 70 games to injury.
Mike started the 2018 season red-hot. He had a five-hit game against the Yankees in May and had a torrid stretch in June during which he batted almost .700. He started in the All-Star Game and homered, and finished the year with 39 round-trippers despite a wrist injury in August. For the third year in a row, opposing hurlers pitched around Mike or walked him intentionally when there was an open base and for the second time in two seasons he led the AL in walks. He batted .312, scored 101 runs and knocked in 79, leading the league in on-base for the third season in a row with a career-best .460 mark. Mookie Betts won the MVP and Mike finished second.
Prior to the 2019 season, Mike inked a 12-year extension with the Angles that ranked at the time as the richest contract in the history of American sports. Mike rewarded LA fans by winning the MVP award for the third time, leading the league with a .645 slugging average and reaching a personal high in home runs with 45. He batted .291 with 110 walks, 110 runs and 104 RBIs. The MVP voting was close, with many expecting Alex Bregman of the Astros to edge him. In the end, Mike got 17 of the 30 first-place votes. What made it close was that he missed the final three weeks to have a painful neuroma surgically removed from his right foot.
In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Mike blasted 17 home runs and had 46 RBIs in 52 games. For the sixth year in a row, the Angels failed to qualify for the postseason. During the year, Mike hit his 300th career homer. Perhaps the biggest Mike Trout headline during a weird summer was the sale of his 1-of-1 rookie insert card for nearly $4 million, breaking the previous record held by the Honus Wagner T-206 tobacco card.