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Trout in historic company with 3rd MVP Award

@RhettBollinger
November 14, 2019

ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout made history on Thursday, as the Angels’ superstar became just the 11th player to win three Most Valuable Player Awards, beating out Houston’s Alex Bregman and Oakland’s Marcus Semien for the 2019 American League MVP Award. Trout, who previously received the honor in 2014 and '16,

ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout made history on Thursday, as the Angels’ superstar became just the 11th player to win three Most Valuable Player Awards, beating out Houston’s Alex Bregman and Oakland’s Marcus Semien for the 2019 American League MVP Award.

Trout, who previously received the honor in 2014 and '16, is now tied for the second-most MVP Awards in history, trailing only Barry Bonds' seven. Trout received 17 first-place votes, compared to 13 for Bregman, beating him out by a 20-point margin, 355 to 335. The center fielder has finished in the top two in AL MVP balloting in seven of the last eight years, with his worst finish coming when he came in fourth in 2017.

Complete MVP Award voting results | All-time winners

“It’s been incredible," said Trout, who was on a hunting trip in Iowa with his dad, brother, agent and friends this week. "My career so far, it’s gone by so fast, been unbelievable. All the hard work. Can’t do it without my teammates, my coaches, all the guys who helped on my path, my wife, my family. It means a lot to me.”

This season, which Trout called his best offensively, saw him hit a career-high 45 homers while leading MLB in on-base percentage and leading the AL in slugging percentage (second in MLB behind Christian Yelich). Trout, 28, hit .291/.438/.645 with 104 RBIs, 110 runs and 11 stolen bases in 134 games.

"Just felt like I was the most consistent at the plate,” Trout said. “I felt good all year. I had a couple skids, but I was able to get out of them quickly. I had a lot of help from my hitting coaches. I had a great year. I felt good.”

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Trout is the first player to win the award after missing the final three weeks of a season, as he last played on Sept. 7 because he underwent surgery to remove a Morton’s neuroma from his right foot. It was an injury that bothered him for more than a month before he underwent the operation. He said he thought the injury might cost him the MVP Award.

“When I got hurt, it was definitely in the back of my mind,” Trout said. “Bregman had an unbelievable second half. When I couldn’t go out there and perform, it was tough. I’m very excited for the award. It’s very humbling. It was a fun race down to the end.”

Players with most MVP Awards in MLB history

Bregman was Trout’s top competition, as the third baseman batted .296/.423/.592 with 41 homers, 112 RBIs and 122 runs in 156 games. Trout barely edged Bregman in FanGraph's Wins Above Replacement (8.6 to 8.5), while Bregman was just ahead of Trout in Baseball-Reference's version of WAR (8.4 to 8.3). Bregman only led Trout in average, games played, walks and bWAR among major categories.

“Mike is a one-of-a-kind player," new Angels manager Joe Maddon said. "There is no comparison that I've seen since 1981, when I began as a coach, manager and scout. His complete skill set is generational and stands up to every era that participated in our game.”

Trout, who also won a Silver Slugger Award for a seventh time, was consistent throughout the season, as he never had an OPS below 1.000 in any month, while Bregman had a much better second half than first half. Bregman was also on a first-place team, while the Angels lost 90 games and finished fourth in the AL West. It was hard to blame Trout for the Angels' struggles, however, as he had a .920 OPS in their losses, while Bregman had just a .763 OPS in Houston's losses.

“Mike’s abilities simply continue to amaze," said Angels hitting coach Jeremy Reed. "He is a MVP on and off the field. His determination to be the best drives him to new levels each day. Mike’s passion to win helps elevate the organization as a whole. I’m blessed to work with him, and I have the best seat in the house to watch greatness.”

How MLB.com writers voted for MVP and why

Trout remains locked up through the 2030 season after signing a 12-year extension worth $426.5 million before the season. So the eight-time All-Star isn’t going anywhere, which gives him the opportunity to keep on adding to his accolades while wearing an Angels uniform.

“After the contract, I was able to be relaxed and go out there and play,” Trout said. “That’s how I was raised, that’s how I was brought up -- always play the game hard. I always enjoy coming to the ballpark. You can ask my teammates. I’m usually the first one to the ballpark and enjoy playing for the fans every night.”

Trout also did it while mourning the death of teammate Tyler Skaggs on July 1, as he took on a leadership role in the clubhouse to help his teammates get through the tragedy.

"This was the toughest year, mentally,” Trout said. “Obviously losing Tyler was an emotional last few months. Just to bring some hardware back to the organization, it's an individual award, but I can’t do this without my teammates, my coaches, the fans. It means a lot more this year, losing a teammate, losing your best friend. It was tough for us as a team, but we got through it, and he's always watching over us and looking down on us."

Trout joins fellow teammate Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio and Jimmie Foxx as the only players who have won three MVP Awards. Only Foxx, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle and Rodriguez have won three AL MVPs, and no player has ever won four. He also joins Pujols and Bonds (nine) as the only players with seven top-two finishes in MVP voting.

“It’s pretty surreal," Trout said. "To be in the same conversation as Bonds, it's incredible. And to have as many MVPs as Albert is special after watching what he did. Just being in the same conversation as those all-time greats means a lot."

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.