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With Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera Retiring Who Becomes Next Face of Baseball?

Updated on April 4, 2014

The Face of Major League Baseball

Sports Center top 10 appearances add to McCutchen's publicity
Sports Center top 10 appearances add to McCutchen's publicity | Source
Mike Trout gets recognized for his superior baserunning skills
Mike Trout gets recognized for his superior baserunning skills | Source

Rivera and Halladay as the Faces of Major League Baseball

For more than the past decade, baseball fans have thought of Mariano Rivera whenever the topic of Major League Baseball was brought up. Roy Halladay is another recent player to retire, who represented the sport with class and was a mentor to those around him. Mariano is a great human being and when he played the game of baseball, there was no better player to represent the sport. Everything that Mariano did for those around him will always be remembered, but now that he is retired, the sport needs someone to step up and take that role as the face of Major League Baseball. Two young stars in the game of baseball, were recently given large contract extensions which allows them to do a lot of charity work. These two players have represented their league as all-stars in the mid-summer classic, and they represent their sport with class in the community with their actions. Mike Trout the centerfielder of the Los Angeles Angels and Andrew McCutchen the centerfielder of the Pittsburgh Pirates, are the two best candidates to represent their sport as the faces of Major League Baseball.

What they do on the field

Mike Trout has been the runner-up for American League MVP the past two seasons, and he won the rookie of the year award in 2012. Trout has been selected as an American League all-star in each of the past two seasons, and has been one of the best centerfielders in baseball since his debut. The past two seasons, Trout has added more wins to the Angels than any other player in baseball has added to their team in a two year span. He does this with a combination of power, on base skills and base running on the offensive side of things. He drew 67 walks in 2012 and 110 walks in 2013. This was combined with slugging percentages over .550 in each of his first two full seasons, and 82 stolen bases combined over that span. This type of consistent and elite offensive production, combined with the great defense, makes Trout's game a lethal combination that many teams covet in an outfielder.

Like Trout in 2012, Andrew McCutchen was named to the all-star game and he was one of the runner-ups in the MVP voting. Both of these occurred in the National League though, so a similar skill-set to Trout, did not rob Trout of either of these accolades in the American League. In 2013 McCutchen made the allstar team again, and this time he finished strong which allowed him to take home his first National League MVP award. McCutchen also excels in every area of the game, with a gold glove award in 2012 to go along with 7 defensive runs saved in 2013, as his best season defensively in centerfield. Over the past two seasons McCutchen has hit .327 and .317 respectively, with 52 combined homeruns. He is also a stolen base threat with spectacular on base skills that go well beyond just his batting average. Over the past two seasons his walk rate has increased and his strikeout rate has declined after having his highest strikeout percentage in a career worst 2011 season. As the faces of baseball though, on the field is not the only place that these two players excel.

What they do off the field

Mike Trout has become noteworthy off the field for all the donations he has made to his hometown sports programs. Recently his former high school, named a baseball field after him because of everything that he had done for the program. Trout is also recognizable for his recent appearances in Subway commercials on the national broadcast networks. Being from Millville, New Jersey, and playing on the west coast, allows Trout to have a huge following on both of the country's coasts. Trout's recent extensions has allowed him to extend his charity work enormously, as he is now among some of the higher paid players in the game. While Trout is not promoted by Major League Baseball, as the face of the sport, he is slowly gaining the recognition that it takes to become just that.

Andrew McCutchen also does a lot of work in the community, and in this case it is in his hometown of Fort Meade Florida. Recently McCutchen donated a large sum of money to the YMCA to help in their efforts to promote playing baseball among African-American kids. McCutchen is also noteworthy for being on the cover of video game, MLB 2013 The Show. This type of publicity has made McCutchen very recognizable by sports fans that are just starting to watch the sport of baseball for the first time. McCutchen's recent Sports Center commercial on ESPN helps to get his face out there, in a setting where he is shown as a leader. This type of publicity makes McCutchen a role model for kids that want to play baseball and to learn to play the game the right way. McCutchen also recently received a contract extension which has allowed him to contribute more to Pirates charities and other organizations that help the needy in Pittsburgh, as well as his home town in Florida.

Conclusion

Ultimately these two players are the best choices to be the new faces of the game of baseball, because what they offer is the complete package. They are class acts on the field and off the field in the work they do within various communities that they have attachments to. The performance of these players on the field, is unmatched the past two seasons. If they keep it up, a whole generation of baseball fans will grow up watching these two centerfielders and trying to model their games after them. This is the type of publicity that makes players into the face of their sport.

Sources:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mccutan01.shtml

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/troutmi01.shtml

http://blog.nj.com/southjerseyhssports/2013/03/millville_high_school_to_name.html

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/andrew-mccutchen-hoping-to-inspire-more-african-american-kids-to-play-baseball?ymd=20131123&content_id=64159830&vkey=news_pit

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    • Josh Ruga profile image
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      Joshua Ruga 3 years ago from New Jersey

      lions44, thanks for commenting. You may have a point on it being hard for a Pirate to be the face of the game, but at one point Clemente and Stargell were players that were thought of as the face of the game. With continued success and popularity it could happen again. Also, there are a lot of fans out there that follow certain players they like, along with rooting for their favorite team.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Interesting article. I think your right on with Trout and McCutchen. Although it will be hard for a Pirate to be the face of MLB. If the Nats are any good and he's healthy, maybe Bryce Harper? Billy Hamilton might another candidate. Big Papi is still on every ESPN promo. Voted up.