The internet has no shortage of facts about how great Mike Trout is. The most telling might be that he’s already accumulated a higher Wins Above Replacement total than 208 players who are in the MLB Hall of Fame — and he’s still just 27 years old.
If you’re less into numbers and more into anecdotes, then consider this: There are only two baseball players in history who have had their own Nike shoe.
Ken Griffey Jr. And Mike Trout. That’s it.
The guy with the second-highest Hall of Fame vote total ever. And Mike Trout.
“When you’re in the same conversation as The Kid, it means a lot,” Trout told Yahoo Sports during an exclusive chat after the unveiling of his new Nike shoes during All-Star week in Cleveland. We met him at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and some of the new Nikes (see below) came with rock-n-roll inspiration.
“Having your own signature sure, it’s a pretty special feeling,” Trout said. “Obviously as a kid growing up, everybody wants their own shoe.”
In basketball, the signature shoes are much more plentiful. You could name a handful of NBA players right now who have their own. In baseball, that sort of treatment is reserved for a select level of greatness.
In the sixth iteration of the Trout cleat and trainer, there’s a homage to Griffey. The Velcro snap on the shoe is a designer feature that Trout says was inspired by the Griffey “Swingman” line, which is most certainly the GOAT when it comes to signature baseball cleats.
The comparison between Griffey and Trout may be heading in another direction. It’s not weird (or too early) anymore to think that Trout might be one of the best baseball players of all time. He’s certainly on the trajectory.
Trout’s career WAR is 70.4, according to Baseball Reference. Griffey is at 83.8, which ranks 56th all-time. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Trout could pass Griffey by the end of next season.
“Sometimes I look back and I see, like when you said passing the Hall of Famers in the WAR stat,” Trout said. “You look back and you say, ‘The hard work is paying off.’”
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