Excellence and Humility: Why Baseball’s Mike Trout Should Be President (of Our Hearts)
by Bob Schwartz
“As always, his personal stats continue to give off a beam of light.”
Mike Lupica, MLB.com
Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels is universally considered the best player in Major League Baseball. The only questions remaining are how much better he might get and whether he may be the best to ever play the game. Seriously, and seriously amazing since Trout is only 26 and has been in the majors only since 2011.
I’ll let veteran sportswriter Mike Lupica take over the story. But there is one more point to make about Trout. Along with overwhelming acknowledgment of his once-in-a-generation talent, he is universally regarded for his humility and lack of showmanship. He only wants to do three things: play baseball as well as he can for his team, get better every day at playing baseball, and be known and seen for playing baseball and not for anything else he says or does.
For those of us who are not nearly the best, let alone the best ever, that should be inspiring and aspirational.
The question for the Angels’ Mike Scioscia, who has seen it all from Mike Trout from the moment Trout hit the big leagues in 2011, was simple enough. It was about Trout’s capacity, if he has one, to still surprise his own manager, as Trout continues to be the greatest star of his sport and one of the great stars of American sports, even if he is not discussed nearly often enough outside baseball the way he ought to be, which means as baseball’s LeBron….
It doesn’t work that way in baseball, or for Trout, who is the best player of his time, on his way, if he is blessed by good health, to someday being called one of the most complete of all time. To this point, Trout has only played three postseason games in his career. He has just one postseason home run in the books. LeBron always has the postseason stage, and the brightest lights there are. So does someone like Tom Brady, who has played eight Super Bowls in his own career.
Not Trout, at least not so far.
It does not change who Trout is and what he has done in baseball and keeps doing, before his 27th birthday. From the time he played his first full season for the Angels in 2012, the only time he has finished worse than second in the American League’s MVP Award voting was last season, when he got hurt and only played 114 games. Even with all the missed time, Trout finished fourth in the voting. So he has two MVPs already, three seconds, a fourth. As always, his personal stats continue to give off a beam of light.
When I suggested to Reggie Jackson, who lives in southern California and has had his own ringside seat to the way Trout plays the game, that Trout is the superstar who sometimes seems to be hiding in plain sight, Reggie said, “No. We all know that he’s the best player.”
Added Reggie: “You know how we always talk about five-tool players [hitting for average, hitting for power, base running, throwing, and fielding]? You watch Trout play and sometimes you swear he’s got even more than that. He checks boxes that you didn’t even know were boxes.”