Rays Tales: Mike Trout on short list of greatest ever to visit Trop

Mike Trout, sliding into home at the Trop, has finished first or second in MVP voting five times.
Mike Trout, sliding into home at the Trop, has finished first or second in MVP voting five times.
Published May 21, 2017

Fourteen Hall of Famers have played at the Trop over the years, and there's a guy coming in this week on a pretty good career path to join them, in Angels CF Mike Trout.

With two American League MVP awards (and three second places), five All-Star selections, a rookie of the year trophy, five Silver Sluggers and league-leading totals in RBIs, steals, walks and runs all before turning 26, Trout has the credentials to be considered the best player in the game today.

So in honor of his presence, we asked a bunch of uniformed veteran Rays who is the best they have ever been on a field with, either playing alongside or against.

Here are some of their answers:

It's Trout, of course …

CF Kevin Kiermaier

By far, "Trouty Ballgame." He just does it all. You watch him play and it's on TV about who he's comparable to thus far in his career, and he's ahead of everyone. It's absolutely amazing. The way he does things he makes it look easy, and I promise you it's not that easy. It's almost annoying to be honest, annoying in a funny/good way.

RHP Jake Odorizzi

He's the all-around player that anybody would want. He does everything, and he does it all above average. He runs, plays great defense, obviously his hitting is phenomenal, he's got good instincts. He's a create-a-player model of everything at 100, like in a video game. There's nothing he doesn't do well.

RHP Alex Colome

From earlier it's Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr., but for me now it's Trout. He can do everything — fielding, hitting, running. We can get him out, but it's hard. You can't miss with him.

2B Brad Miller

You almost don't talk about him anymore because it's already just assumed he is the best player in the game. He can do it all. We saw it in Seattle, he was able to steal a ton of bags and then he just took his power numbers to another level.

OF Peter Bourjos

This is a pretty easy one. From the time he got called up to the big leagues you could see what he was going to be. Just the way he carried himself with his at-bats. He was 19-20 years old and having at-bats like a 10-year veteran day in and day out with his approach, on top of the ability and the confidence.

Hmm … but, yes, Trout

RHP Alex Cobb

The most awe-inspiring player to play against has been Derek Jeter. Seeing him in big-league uniform and in the box against me … it was just like, he's Derek Jeter and he's in the box looking at me waiting to throw a ball. Miggy (Miguel Cabrera) has been probably the best hitter. But … Trout. I'm thinking that's kind of a boring answer, but true.

1B Logan Morrison

I remember playing against Joey Votto and thinking we can't get this dude out. … For me, Miggy is the best right-handed hitter in the game now, and there was a time when (Albert) Pujols was. … Hanley (Ramirez) was something special. But Trout, he can do it all. He's probably the best I've seen. When Felix (Hernandez) was Felix he was taking him deep all the time, robbing my homers and stealing bags.

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OF Steven Souza Jr.

I played with Anthony Rendon in '14 (in Washington) and he was incredible defensively and has got just a smooth stroke. He's not the all-around player Trout is, but the game is really easy to him. It's very easy to say Trout is the best in the game playing against him, but if I'm trying to go against the curve and pick someone I played with, it's Anthony Rendon.

RHP Chris Archer

Eric Hosmer is pretty good, I've played with him a few times — but it's hard to just not say Trout. … You don't see highlights on him every night because it's almost like boring — it's .330 with 30 (homers), stolen bases and Gold Glove-caliber D every year. It's like, when he is going to do something different.

Miggy or Alberto?

OF/DH Corey Dickerson

Miguel Cabrera (left) is the best hitter I've ever gotten to witness personally, so it's him or Todd Helton. Todd was a little older when I was there (in Colorado), but to see what he could do at his age and how he went about it was pretty impressive.

Colby Rasmus

Alberto Pujols (left). You don't have to have a why on that one. Just look it up. Google that one. Scroll down a little bit. Whatever it says on there, that'll work.

RHP Danny Farquhar

Miggy. Strictly offensively, his combination of power and average, he's not one-sided (in where he hits) on the field, he can take you deep wherever. And he's been doing it for so many years.

And some others …

3B Evan Longoria

Derek Jeter (left). His legacy speaks for itself, but he also was a guy who consistently throughout his career played in the biggest of moments and excelled in them. He was probably one of the only players that as a young player I was kind of awestruck to be on the same field with.

DH/1B Rickie Weeks

Barry Bonds (left). And why? There is no explanation why. I was playing the shift one day in short rightfield and he hit a line drive over my head. I thought I could jump for it, maybe tip it, and it just kept going up. It went out, in the water in McCovey Cove. I turned around and I was like, are you (kidding) me. So that's your explanation. I'd never seen anything like that.

RHP Jumbo Diaz

I've played with Aroldis Chapman and Joey Votto (in Cincinnati). I've played against Jose Bautista and Albert Pujols. But I'd say David Ortiz — his career numbers are absolutely incredible.

The 14 of Fame

The 14 Hall of Famers who have played in games at the Trop:

Roberto Alomar, Wade Boggs*, Ken Griffey Jr., Rickey Henderson, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Paul Molitor, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Cal Ripken Jr., Ivan Rodriguez, John Smoltz, Frank Thomas.

* Played for Devil Rays

Rays rumblings

With an MLB-low average of 14,603 before the weekend and 12 crowds less than 13,000, principal owner Stuart Sternberg seemed more realistic than threatening in telling's Mark Feinsand attendance "isn't helping the cause" in proving the market's viability. … Related, dynamic pricing is common but seems excessive with a low price Saturday and today of $36; there are cheaper tickets at Yankee Stadium when the Rays visit in July. … Lou Piniella's book, Lou, written with Bill Madden, is out, with an interesting chapter on his time managing the Rays.