. Jeff played four seasons in the minors at second base and third base. But he won't claim credit for his son's success.
- Mike's Dad, Jeff Trout was drafted by the Twins in the 5th round in 1983, out of the University of Delaware
"Mike's a great kid," Jeff Trout said. "He's a great player, but he's a better person. That's always been our goal as parents, to raise kids that are good people and let their natural talents take them wherever."Trout is from a solid family background. His parents taught him the value of accountability and hard work.
Trout's hometown, Millville, New Jersey, used to be a glassmaking town, but it was hit by the same economic forces that have emptied manufacturing towns throughout the U.S. with all the jobs being outsourced. Now Millville is known as a Mike Trout-making town.
In 2008, the Trouts moved into a home on the very outskirts of Millville, in a two-story house that sits on nearly four acres in Deerfield Township.
Upstairs is the bed Mike still sleeps in during the offseason—next door to his brother, Tyler, who's in his final year at Rutgers Law School. Downstairs is the basement he turned into his own personal "man cave," complete with a wet bar, mini fridge, ping-pong table, PlayStation 3 and deer-hunting rifles.
His mother, Debbie, has taken on the role of Mike's business manager, per se, teaming with agent Craig Landis to schedule all of his photo shoots and appearances and interviews.
"Thank God I retired in June," says Debbie, whose husband, Jeff, is retiring after 25 years of teaching.
"This," Jeff adds, "is like running a corporation now."Mike Trout has a football body at 6-foot-1 and 217 pounds. An all-conference basketball player in high school as well, he played quarterback and safety as a freshman in high school and could have been a Division I player, according to his dad, a longtime history teacher and baseball and football coach at Millville High.
"He was so fearless on the field, as the football coach, I got so worried about what was going on," Jeff Trout said. "He'd get dinged up.
"So I just told him 'Mike, you ought to spend one of these seasons just hitting the weights and lifting. I don't care what sport you pick.' It's great to be a three-sport guy and everything. But I was trying to encourage him, hoping he would back away from football a little bit. And he did."
After banging up his ankle his freshman year of football, he knew baseball was a better career choice.
"Since he was about seven or eight years old, I knew he was a special baseball player," said Jeff Trout, who played four seasons as an infielder in the Twins system, reaching Double-A. "He stood out basically everywhere he played, every step of the way athletically.
"The other good thing about Mike is that he has always enjoyed working at the game also. It was never a burdensome thing to go out and take BP, get groundballs and flyballs hit to him, stuff like that." (Jeff Johnson-Baseball America-7/08/10)In high school Mike threw a no-hitter against Egg Harbor Township. He was a pitcher and short stop during his high school years.In 2009, Trout graduated from Millville High School in New Jersey, having hit .531 with 18 home runs and 45 runs batted in in 26 games. He struck out only 17 times in all four years and hit over .530 each of his last two seasons. He committed to East Carolina University on a baseball scholarship.
But instead Michael signed with the Angels on July 1, 2009, for a reported bonus of $1.215 million, via scout Greg Morhardt. He had been the only player who appeared at the MLB Network's studios for its live coverage in June 2009, on draft day.
Trout was signed by scout Greg "Mo" Morhardt, whose roommate for spring training one year and his teammate at Double-A Orlando was Jeff Trout. He remembered Trout as an undersized second baseman who knew how to hit and got every ounce out of his ability. Mike was his son.Mike has solid makeup. And he has speed, athleticism and plays the game the right way and has fun doing it.
He cares more about the team than he does himself.Trout is hard-nosed and aggressive on the field. He is a bulldog. A few have compared Mike to Aaron Rowand. But he is also grounded, and a team player. Good days or bad, Mike is always the same.Trout was rated the top prospect in the Gulf Coast League by Baseball America in September 2009.The Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Mike as the third best prospect in the Angels' organization in the spring of 2010. They moved him up to #1 prospect in the Angels' farm system in the winter before both 2011 and 2012 spring training camps opened.The Cedar Rapids Kernels have a promotional night each season that's sponsored by a local auto dealer.
The dealership gives away three used cars to random fans, and one of the winners during the 2010 season was Debbie Trout, the mother of Kernels outfielder Mike Trout. The family just happened to be visiting Iowa from their home in New Jersey.
"We donated it back to the Kernels," said Jeff Trout, Mike's dad. "I think one of the relief pitchers has it. Maybe Jon Bachanov. It's going to continue to be a Kernels family car. Each year when they come into town, someone will get it." (Jeff Johnson-Baseball America-7/08/10)In 2010, Trout was named the Midwest League's #1 prospect and the California League's best prospect by Baseball America, while winning the league MVP award as well as the batting and on-base titles, and managers rated him the best hitter, best and fastest runner, best defensive outfielder and most exciting player in the league.
Also, Mike was selected as the recipient of the 51st annual J.G. Taylor Spink Award as the Topps/Minor League Player of the Year. He is the youngest player to win the award at 19 years, two months.
Andruw Jones was 19 years, six months old when he was named Topps/Minor League Player of the Year in 1996.October 2010: In nine games in the Pan-Am qualifying tournament, Team USA finishing tied for third with a 7-1 record. Trout led the team in hits with 14—and demonstrated his developing power with three homers and seven RBIs, along with two doubles and a triple for a .675 slugging percentage. He also drew three walks for a .395 on-base percentage, scoring 10 runs.Trout is built like a defensive back.
His athleticism and competitive drive are boundless. He can dunk a basketball with ease. He shoots in the 90s during occasional rounds of golf, but hits his drives into neighboring counties. He’s good at table tennis and formidable at video games, and rolled a personal high of 286 in bowling. He still laments the 300 game that got away..
In the spring of 2011, Trout, who was 19, arrived at the Angels' major league camp. One night a group of nine veterans invited him to join them at a swanky steak house in Scottsdale. Great heaps of food kept coming to the table, as did bottles of fine wine. Trout couldn't believe his great fortune. Only two years earlier he was in high school watching these guys on TV. He had a great time—until pitcher Jered Weaver walked up to him and said, "You're the million-dollar baby. You're going to pay for it."
Mike looked at the bill: $1,800. He excused himself and went to the rest room, where he pulled out his cell phone and made a call.
"Mom? They're going to stick me with an $1,800 bill. Do I have enough money in my account?"
"Mike, what are you talking about? Just use your card."
The next morning, there was a large Tonka dump truck parked in Trout's locker. It was filled with 7,200 quarters.
A television analyst referred to Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout as "T 'n T"—a dynamite combination.
In 2012, the Angels stumbled out of the gate to an 18-25 record through May 21, 2012. It was then that the 2012 TNT boys sparked an eight-game winning streak that put the Angels back into contention—and rekindled an old nickname.
In June 2012, Angels manager Mike Scioscia was asked if he thought about reeling in the frenetic play of Trout.
"I really think that when you play aggressively, you have a natural mechanism that protects you," Scioscia said of Trout, who often flies into walls, etc. "If you try to put a governor on him, try to have him slide gingerly or not go as hard, I think that puts him more at risk. You can get in an awkward position if you try to take your athletic ability out of the equation."
Trout was named the American League's Rookie of the Year for 2012. And it was a unanimous vote of all 28 members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
As of the offseason before 2013 spring training, Mike was still living at home with Mom and Dad.
"A lot of my teammates make fun of me, because I still live with my parents," Trout said. "Eventually I'll get a house. But I'm real close to my parents."
Mike's Dad says his son is even quiet at home.
"He's a man of very few words," his Dad says. "He gives those one-liners, those cliches. Don't take it personally. It's the same with us."
In January 2013, GQ Magazine did a photo shoot at the house for their April issue. Eastbay did the same for their catalog at a local gym. And in the spring, Mike will grace the covers of Men's Health and ESPN The Magazine—this time alongside Triple Crown winner and AL MVP Award winner Miguel Cabrera.
Nike secured Mike to a four-year contract in December. J&J Snack Foods plans to put him on the back of their SuperPretzel box. And Subway will include him in a commercial that will air during Sunday's Super Bowl.
Over the past few months, Mike's parents have learned a lot of things on the fly. They've learned that the memorabilia sent to the house doesn't get signed. Only what's sent directly to Angel Stadium.
They've learned not to get spooked when cars roll around their cul-de-sac with their cameras out—which the neighbors have tried to minimize by saying the Trouts don't live there anymore. They've learned to laugh it off when people call Mike's sister's house asking about her brother, or when four teenage girls roll up in a golf cart chanting his name.
Mostly, they've learned the art of saying no.
"It's funny, because I understand that they're fans, and that's great," Debbie says. "I love his fan base and everything like that. But there's only one of Mike, and there's all these people that just want one little piece of him."
Trout—raised by a tight-knit family and a hard-nosed, baseball-playing father—is clean cut and perceivably, well, vanilla. He's respectful yet distant; at ease in front of sold-out stadiums but jittery behind a microphone and devoid of introspection.
A lot has changed around Millville for Mike. In December 2012, when he went to the movies, word spread, and by the time he stepped out, hundreds were waiting in the parking lot for an autograph. Same thing happened the last time he tried to play a round of golf with some friends and his high school sweetheart. Or the last time he walked into Cuts On High for a haircut. Or the last time he tried to eat his hamburgers at Jim's Lunch.
Simply put, Mike Trout can no longer be Mikey from Millville. It's just not that simple anymore. "I wish I could tell you that everything's the same, that he can go everywhere he wants to go, but it's not the case," says Shannon, who used to live next door to the Trouts and would dress up as Santa Claus for their three kids.
"Mikey Trout is a rock star. He has hit rock-star status here. To the close circle of friends, his friends, he's still Mikey Trout. But to a lot of folks, he's that Major League Baseball player, he's the Rookie of the Year. They're awestruck. They want to get close to Mikey. They want to be able to tell people, 'Not only is he from my hometown, I know Mikey and he knows me.' So, it's changed quite a bit." (Alden Gonzalez-MLB.com-1/31/12)
Trout played the 2012 season at 220 pounds. Then, after an offseason regimen of twice-daily workouts, he showed up at 2013 spring training at 240 pounds.
March 12, 2013: Trout had played only one full season in the big leagues, but the Milville, New Jersey native's high school was renaming its baseball field after the Los Angeles Angels star. The Millville Board of Education voted to change the name of Millville High's in honor of the 2012 American League rookie of the year.
In a way, the move is a thank-you to Trout. When he won the Players Choice Rookie of the Year Award, it came with a $20,000 donation to the charity of his choice. The 21-year-old outfielder sent the money to his school to renovate its field. The exact name of the field has not been decided.
May 21, 2013: Trout hit for the cycle. Considering all that Trout has done, it almost comes as a surprise that this was his first cycle. Despite being a standout player at every level, Trout had never achieved the feat, not in Little League, not for Millville Senior High School or anywhere else.
"It's just a dream come true," said Trout, who also expressed his excitement on Twitter, posting: "Appreciate all the love! Awesome night! #angels"
"To stand here after a night like this is definitely up there on my lists of personal [accomplishments]," he added. "Triple, double, home run and a single. It's tough to do, and hopefully, there's more to come."
"More to come" may seem like a lot to ask considering the record for cycles is only three -- Bob Meusel, Babe Herman and John Reilly each did it three times. (William Boor-MLB.com-5/23/13)
September 17, 2013: Trout -- at 22 years, 40 days old -- became the second-youngest player in Major League history with 25-plus homers and 30-plus steals in one season, with the youngest being himself during the 2012 season. He's also the first player in American League history with 25 homers, 30 steals and 100 walks.
October, 2013: Mike Trout was named Baseball America's 2013 Player of the Year.
Hobbies: Golf, fishing and hunting.
Movie: Happy Gilmore
Actor: Adam Sandler
TV Show: CSI Miami
Person in history I'd like to meet: Babe Ruth
Players, past and present, I'd pay to watch: Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera, today. Pedro Martinez from the past.
If not a baseball player, I'd have been: A school teacher.
.3em;="""""""" padding:="""""""" 1em="""""""">Trout still can't believe how fast this is all happening. First.3em;"="""""""">, he was the teenager very few veterans knew, trying to find his way on the Angels' roster and looking to carve a spot for himself in this game. Now, he is in many ways the most popular player in baseball -- the guy for whom hundreds of fans line up to see at an airport, the one doing seven-hour photo shoots with Nike and the player at least one U.S. president refers to in speeches.
.3em;="""""""" padding:="""""""" 1em="""""""">.3em;"="""""""">Trout spent the offseason outdoors, in the woods or on a boat, as always. He caught a killer wahoo and barracuda with his father in Saint Lucia, attended a Sixers game against the Heat to watch LeBron James -- the two have yet to meet -- learned to actually enjoy those extensive photo shoots and gracefully embraced all the attention he continued to receive. "If I'm sitting there at my locker at the start of spring and nobody's coming over," Trout said, "that means I'm not doing something right."
.3em;="""""""" padding:="""""""" 1em="""""""">.3em;"="""""""">And while discussing the farm bill Congress had just passed during a talk at the University of Michigan two weeks ago, President Barack Obama wanted to express how versatile it was, so he said: "It's like Mike Trout, for those of you who know baseball. It's somebody who's got a lot of tools and multitasks."
Trout was rabbit hunting when Obama said that, and his phone instantly began buzzing in his pocket. .3em;"="""""""">It was only the latest example of just how big this whole thing has become.
.3em;="""""""" padding:="""""""" 1em="""""""">"I really can't explain just the last couple years of my life," Trout said. "It's been great. Having fun doing it. That's what I wanted to be as a kid growing up, and I'm taking full advantage of it. No better place to be right now." (Gonzalez - mlb.com - 02/19/14)
June 2009: The Angels drafted Mike in the first round, out of Millville High School in New Jersey.
March 2, 2013: Trout had his contract renewed by the Angels for $510,000, prompting an angry response from the outfielder's agent. Craig Landis said his client was disappointed with the decision announced Saturday. The salary is $20,000 above the major league minimum.
"During the process, on behalf of Mike, I asked only that the Angels compensate Mike fairly for his historic 2012 season, given his service time," Landis said in a statement. "In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a 'fair' contract and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process. Nonetheless, the renewal of Mike's contract will put an end (to) this discussion."
February 26, 2014: Trout and the Angels agreed on a $1 milion contract for the 2014 season, a prelude to a much bigger deal in the near future. It was the largest pre-arbitration contract for a player, surpassing a record shared by Ryan Howard, who got $900,000 from the Philadelphia Phillies
in 2007, and Albert Pujols, who got the same amount from the St. Louis Cardinals in '03.