Jeter passes the torch to Trout
Derek Jeter, the 40-year-old face of baseball, said farewell to the All-Star Game at the same time 22-year-old Mike Trout of Millville, Cumberland County, became the second-youngest player (by a few days after Ken Griffey Jr. in 1992) to earn MVP honors at the showcase. The 41,048 fans at Target Field on Tuesday night buzzed from start to finish.
Jeter and Trout propelled the American League to a 5-3 victory over the National League on Tuesday for its 13th win in 17 years. The night will be remembered for the old and the young rather than the score.
Raised in New Jersey, Trout saw a lot of Jeter and said all week he felt honored to play alongside him. Jeter, who was born in Pequannock, N.J., grew up in Michigan.
Jeter made a diving stop on Andrew McCutchen's grounder to shortstop leading off the game and nearly threw him out at first, then received a 63-second standing ovation when he walked to the plate before his opposite-field double to right leading off the bottom half. He was given another rousing cheer before his single to right starting the third made him the oldest all-star with a multihit game and 21/2 minutes more applause after AL manager John Farrell sent Alexei Ramirez to shortstop to replace him at the start of the fourth.
Trout tripled home Jeter in the first inning and scored on Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer off Adam Wainwright, then gave the AL a 4-3 lead in the fifth with an RBI double against Pat Neshek. Trout, second to Cabrera in AL MVP voting the last two years, is in position for a most unusual all-star cycle: He singled in the first at-bat of his debut at Kansas City in 2012, doubled leading off last year's game, and now has tripled.
All he needs is a home run in his first at-bat next year in Cincinnati.
No wonder many expect him to become baseball's top personality.
"I think let Mike be Mike. I don't think people have to necessarily appoint someone to a particular position," Jeter said. "He's got a bright future ahead of him. I don't know how much better he can get, but if he consistently does what he's doing, then he will be here for a long time."
In his farewell, Jeter tried not to make a fuss and to deflect the attention.
"He just wanted to thank us," Trout said. "You know, we should be thanking him."
A 14-time all-star who was MVP of the 2000 game in Atlanta, Jeter announced in February that this would be his final season. His hits left him with a .481 all-star average (13 for 27), just behind Charlie Gehringer's .500 record (10 for 20) for players with 20 or more at-bats.
The AL improved to 9-3 since the game started deciding which league gets World Series home-field advantage; 23 of the last 28 titles were won by teams scheduled to host four of a possible seven games.
Trout was removed after the sixth inning by Oakland's Brandon Moss - while Jeter teased him.
"He said he wanted me to play nine innings," Trout said, laughing. "He said I am 22 years old coming out of the game, it is the sixth inning, I should be playing nine."
But Trout returned to the field after the game, to accept his MVP award and his Chevrolet prize. He had a choice: the Silverado or the Corvette?
"When they came out and told me I got a choice, I was pretty pumped," Trout said. "I got my dad a truck a couple of weeks ago, so I probably would have chosen the truck if I hadn't done that. But I have to go with the sports car."
This article contains information from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.