It is easy to romanticize baseball of the past. The legendary stars of yesteryear seem larger than life, especially those from out childhood.
Someone who grew up in the 1940s would claim that there has never been a player like Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams. Someone 10 years younger might say the same thing about Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. We get new stars, but rarely do they seem to match a star from a few lifetimes ago, but right now in baseball, we have cloned Mickey Mantle.
Yes, you guessed it, Mike Trout is this generation’s Mickey Mantle. Mickey and Mike. The similarities are strong. Both are center fielders. Both possess power and speed and hit for average. Both have battled injuries. The only real difference is that Mantle was a switch-hitter and played on the best team in baseball, and Trout bats right-handed and has never been in the World Series.
Trout began to play pro ball at age 17 and made the majors at 19. So did Mantle. Both had their breakthrough seasons in their second season in the majors at age 20. By age 25, both had won two American League MVP Awards,
As of today, Trout is 27 years old and has played nine seasons in the majors. When Mantle was 27, he also had played nine seasons in the majors, so it is easy to compare what Trout has accomplished to what Mantle did in his first nine years at age 27.
The stats are close. Mantle has a decent edge in RBIs, and that could be because he played for the powerful Yankees. Trout has played for a team that has been to the postseason once and has not won a game. Trout has a big edge in stolen bases, but he simply ran more. The Yankees did not steal much because of their powerful lineup, and the rate of success is slightly better for Trout.
Take and look and judge for yourself:
Games: Mantle 1,245, Trout 1,199
At-bats: Mantle 4,478, Trout 4,340
Runs: Mantle 994, Trout 903
Hits: Mantle 1,392, Trout 1,324
Doubles: Mantle 208, Trout 251
Triples: Mantle 54, Trout 46
Home runs: Mantle 280, Trout 285
RBIs: Mantle 841, Trout 752
Stolen bases: Mantle 98, Trout 200
SB pct.: Mantle 79.8, Trout 84.7
Avg.: Mantle .311, Trout .305
Slg. pct.: Mantle .589, Trout .581
OPS: Mantle .994, Trout 1,000
OPS+: Mantle 173, Trout 176
MVP Award: Mantle 2, Trout 3
Obviously, Trout has a way to go to match the career that Mantle enjoyed, but it would be bard to say that he isn’t on his way. Trout is the best player in the game today and is a modern-day Mickey Mantle – at least on the field but not off it. But that’s another story.