Rookie of the Year Mike Trout has earned his keep. Now he wants to earn a World Series ring.Outfielder Mike Trout, mom Debbie, dad Jeff, brother Tyler and sister Teal drive 125 miles north from their Millville, N.J., home to upstate Secaucus on June 9, 2009. Major League Baseball’s player draft is headquartered here in the MLB Network’s Studio 42. First pick of the day: Stephen Strasburg, pitcher. The seventh pick is announced: “Mike … .” But it’s Mike Minor, a college pitcher. Eighth pick: “Mike … .” This time, it’s Mike Leake, another pitcher. The anxiety grows. On it goes. Finally, the 25th pick: “Mike … Trout” to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. A smart or risky pick of a 17-year-old high school senior? Cut to 2012: Called up in late April from the minors, Mike Trout hits .326 with 30 home runs, steals 49 bases, becomes an All-Star, breaks the team’s record for runs scored in a season, places second in the vote for the league’s Most Valuable Player and is a unanimous choice — the youngest in history, in fact, at age 21 — for the Jackie Robinson Award as the American League’s Rookie of the Year.
Know Mike Trout
Music you would bring along
for a long flight: I’m a country-music guy. Jason Aldean. Luke Bryan.
Movie you could watch again and again: Happy Gilmore. It makes me laugh every time.
Meal you would order if you could order anything: Surf and turf. Lobster for sure.
Place you haven’t been to yet but want to see: Paris
Someone you hope to meet in person: Hmmm, that’s a good question. I need to think about that. I don’t know. Tom Hanks?
American Way: Last year was like one highlight after another after another. Which was the most memorable moment for you?
Mike Trout: I’d have to say the All-Star Game. You’re out there on the field and you’re watching these guys you watched as a kid, and you suddenly realize you’re one of them. It was the greatest all-around experience for me, to be a part of that. And then to win the Rookie of the Year award later, it’s all been pretty incredible.
AW: It wasn’t that long ago that you were a kid. You’re practically still a kid. How did you manage to get this far in your career this fast?
MT: I played a lot of sports growing up. Baseball was the one I found that I could compete in. My parents were such a big influence. We were all jumpy every time a Mike got called at the draft. My dad played ball — he got drafted by the [Minnesota] Twins. He pushed me, whether it was just playing “flip” or giving me advice, so I could be the best I could be. Off the field, my mom and he did everything possible to keep my head on straight. I’m sure it must have been stressful, the time and money they sacrificed on me.
AW: And now you’re teammates with Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, two of the biggest names in the game.
MT: Oh, man. That’s so amazing. Albert Pujols is an awesome guy. Early in the season, when he was struggling, he was still exactly the same person he was later, when he was hitting great. He never got down. That was a great example for me of how to be. Josh Hamilton, well, as you probably know, he is a fun guy to watch. I’m glad he’s with us rather than against us now. We’d be in the outfield when Josh would come to bat, and I’d talk to [former teammate] Torii Hunter and say, “We can’t let this guy get one past us.” But sometimes he would. He’s just that good.
AW: So what next? How do you top last year?
MT: I don’t know. Just keep banging away, I guess. See what happens. To win a World Series is the big goal for all of us. I’m young, but I’m just as hungry for a championship as some of the veteran guys are. I won’t say, “I’m young. I’ve got time.” I want us to win now because that’s why we play the game.