11/13/12 10:36 PM ET
Trout adds Heart and Hustle Award to accolades
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
A night after winning American League Rookie of the Year, the Angels center fielder received the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association's overall Heart and Hustle Award at its 13th annual Legends for Youth fundraising dinner at the Marriott Marquis. He was chosen from among 30 individual club nominees in electronic balloting by former Major Leaguers representing each club, and he was among several of the nominees on hand as the award winner was kept secret.
On Thursday he is expected to contend along with Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers when the Baseball Writers' Association of America reveals the AL Most Valuable Player Award live on MLB Network. Then he will be among five players up for a new overall "MLB MVP" trophy, given out regardless of league affiliation, as part of MLB.com's 11th annual Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards announced on Dec. 4 at the Winter Meetings.
"Not much of a speech guy so give me a little bit -- I'm going to get used to that," Trout said with signature confidence as he accepted his latest award from presenter Brian McRae. "It's been crazy for me the last couple of weeks. Last night with the Rookie of the Year, had my parents there, celebrated it. Then this award tonight is pretty amazing. I'd like to thank the Alumni Association, players, fans and especially the Angels organization for giving me the opportunity to play this year. I'm just out there having fun.
"I take pride in these awards. I go out there and give 110 percent every time and leave it all on the field. There's only one thing in baseball, and I think it's to win and just have fun."
The Heart and Hustle Award is presented to an active player who demonstrates a passion for the game and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of baseball.
Now that he has handily won a rookie award and then followed it up with an overall recognition among veteran candidates, the big question is whether he can trump a Triple Crown winner Thursday.
Trout said in an interview before the dinner that he would vote for himself for MVP if he could. And he actually can with the MLB MVP version, as votes are submitted through Dec. 2 by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
"It would mean the world," he said of Thursday's announcement. "It's a dream come true to get to the big leagues, but to win the MVP would mean a lot to me and my family."
Does he expect to win MVP?
"You've got to be confident," Trout said. "It's going to be tough. I'm anxious, nervous, all the feelings you could feel about that. It's going to be fun to watch.
"You look at it as the best all-around player or the best hitter, that's the way I look at it. I think I've got the edge as best all-around player."
Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and six-time All-Star Rusty Staub were presented with the Alumni Achievement Award, a lifetime recognition. In giving his acceptance speech, Staub asked if anyone in the crowd -- which was filled with former players -- had stolen 47 bases.
Trout stood up in the middle of the room at his table.
"Well, guess what -- I stole 47 bases, too," Staub told him, referring to his career total. Trout actually had a couple of bags more, for a total of 49. Trout also batted .326, hammered 30 homers and drove in 83 runs. When asked what he took most pride in, Trout said it was his Major League-high 129 runs.
"I take pride in scoring runs as a leadoff guy, getting on base, getting to second, letting the big guys hit me in," he said. "That's one of my goals, to score as many runs as possible to help my team win."
He said this is the kind of November he was hoping for. Where it goes next, no one knows.
"Coming into the year, for me personally, I wanted to be the best player in the league," he said. "That's one of my goals. To be in this discussion at the end of the year, it's pretty cool.
"I look back at it, but you got to be confident in your abilities. I knew I had it in me. There is still work to be done. We fell short and didn't make the playoffs, so we have to try harder next year."
Trout said he texted fellow teen sensation Bryce Harper of the Nationals on Monday, when they each won their respective league's Rookie of the Year Award.
"He's been playing with all this pressure on his back since he was 15 years old," Trout said. "To go out there and do what he's done at such a young age, it's pretty incredible. You see the Arizona Fall League last year, our one goal coming out of that was both being in the big leagues the next year, and we both accomplished it."
Not bad for someone who easily led the Majors in wins above replacement with a 10.7 mark and says he still doesn't know what exactly WAR is all about.
"Coming into the year, I really didn't know what WAR was," he said. "I kind of don't know what it is now. I know it's wins above replacement or something, right? I really don't pay attention to that stuff. Just go out there and play, and if it's over 10, I guess that's great, that's what people say."
Jamie Moyer, who last April became the oldest player ever to win an MLB game, was given the Brooks Robinson Community Service Award, largely due to the work that his Moyer Foundation has done over the years with its Camp Erin program to help bereaved youth.
Speaking of that award's namesake, Robinson was unable to attend the dinner for which he is so closely known by many these days. His wife, Connie, was ill so he stayed home to tend to her.