Angels superstar Mike Trout added another accolade on Thursday, as he was the Angels’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which annually recognizes the MLB player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Trout, a three-time American League MVP Award winner and an eight-time All-Star, said he was honored to be the nominee and said giving back is one of his main missions as a baseball player. Trout and his wife, Jessica, have made suicide awareness and mental health one of their main causes after the suicide of Jessica's brother, former Angels Minor Leaguer Aaron Cox, in 2018. They partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the apparel company Tiny Turnip to create an initiative called "Your Game Isn't Over Yet ;", with the semicolon representing the symbol for suicide prevention.
"It means a lot," Trout said. "When I first started coming up, the main focus was playing the game, but I kind of sat back, talked about it with my wife. I’m here to play this game, but I’m also here to give back, and if you can make an impact on other people’s lives, it’s really huge. [Suicide prevention] obviously hits close, with Aaron’s passing. Mental health is real, especially during this pandemic. A lot of people are going through it; it’s a struggle. Just raising awareness.”
Angels manager Joe Maddon has been impressed with Trout’s involvement in the community both locally in the Orange County region and back home in his native New Jersey.
“He’s doing that because it feels like the right thing to do,” Maddon said. “And he's getting involved off the baseball field in his community and back home, too. These are the kind of things I'd like to see more guys do. But it's a perfect example of who he is. It's outstanding. And again, it's a value choice on his part, it's something that's near and dear to his heart. I think that's awesome.”
Trout, 28, continues to be a force on the field as well, as he entered Thursday tied for the Major League lead in homers (13) and RBIs (34). He’s also just one homer away from tying Tim Salmon for the Angels' career record of 299 homers.
"Tim is a great person," Trout said. "Got to know him over the years. Pretty cool how we’re always linked together because of our last names, but looking back at his career, the way he represented the Angels' organization with such class. Hear nothing but great things about him. Every chance I get to talk to him around the ballpark, I take advantage of it."
But the Angels have struggled again this season and are headed toward missing the postseason for the sixth consecutive year. Trout remains under contract through 2030, so he knows there’s time for the organization to turn it around, but he admitted it’s been a frustrating season, especially with the high expectations coming in after signing fellow star Anthony Rendon to a seven-year deal.
"It’s been a tough year, obviously, this year," Trout said. "We definitely had higher expectations. But I got 10 more years on this contract, so we have to move forward. There’s 20-something games left, we have to try to finish strong, get some positives for next year and see how it goes."