Before Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, Major League Baseball celebrated legends Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, and Johnny Bench, touting them as the “Greatest Living Ballplayers.”
But when the game itself started, 23-year-old Mike Trout reminded everyone in the building that the greatest living ballplayer might actually be playing in front of their eyes.
The Los Angeles Angels star sparked the American League to a 6-3 victory over the National League during the All-Star Game in Cincinnati and made Mid-Summer Classic history.
Trout led off the game with a home run and helped produce a tie-breaking run in the third by beating out a double play bid, then raced home from second on a single to left as the American League claimed home field advantage for the World Series.
After the game, the Angels outfielder was named Most Valuable Player, becoming the first back-to-back winner of the honour.
Trout set the tone when he stroked an outside pitch from Dodgers’ right-hander Zack Greinke over the right-field fence for the first lead-off homer in an All-Star Game since Bo Jackson in 1989 in San Francisco.
The National League tied it 1-1 when the Cardinals’ Jhonny Peralta blooped a single to right to score the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt.
Trout was the star of the night, but he wasn’t the only standout performer. Texas’ Prince Fielder drove Trout in with a pinch-hit single off lefty Clayton Kershaw to retake the lead for the American League. Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen then homered for the National League, while Minnesota’s Brian Dozier added one for the American League side.
The reigning MVP is in his fourth major league season, and this was his fourth All-Star Game. He singled in the first one, doubled in the second, tripled in the third and this time added the home run.
There are only nine other guys with career All-Star cycles, and most of them fall into that legend category. Mays was one, and Ted Williams, Roberto Clemente, George Brett and Ernie Banks are also on the list.
Excluding the 15-inning marathon in 2008, no American League All-Star since 2004 had come to the plate four times (only two National Leaguers had, none since Jose Reyes in 2007).