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Hall of Famer Al Kaline among Mike Trout's biggest fans

July 16, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels outfielder Mike Trout slides into third base during a game against the New York Yankees on Saturday.
Angels outfielder Mike Trout slides into third base during a game against… (Mike Stobe / Getty Images )

DETROIT -- Mike Trout met another member of his growing fan club before Monday night’s game in Comerica Park, though this one has a lot more in common with the Angels’ rookie phenom than most.

It was Al Kaline, the former Detroit Tigers outfielder and Hall of Famer who as a 20-year-old in 1955 won the American League batting title with a .340 average.

Trout, who turns 21 on Aug. 7, entered Monday with an AL-leading .349 average and 30 stolen bases, and he led the Angels with a .403 on-base percentage, 60 runs and 95 hits. The speedy and powerful outfielder also had 12 home runs, 19 doubles and 41 runs batted in.

“I’ve really been paying attention to what he’s been doing,” Kaline, now 77 and a special assistant to the Tigers team president, told the Detroit Free Press for a story that ran Monday. “It’s been amazing.”

Trout is the leading candidate for AL rookie of the year and is being touted as a most-valuable-player candidate. Some national baseball writers have opined recently that he could already be the best, or one of the best, players in the game.

“He’s a strong guy, runs really well, power — he reminds me a little bit of Mickey Mantle,” Kaline said. “You don’t see the combination of power and speed that he has. … He looks like a complete player. I know he’s an outstanding outfielder.”

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