Mike Trout: The brilliant $426.5m MLB star most Americans don’t know

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You might be inclined to say Tom Brady, the charismatic quarterback for the New England Patriots, winner of six Super Bowls. Or basketball luminary LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers. Maybe sharp-shooting Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who has single-handedly revolutionised the game in just a handful of years.

Or perhaps you’re familiar enough with US sport to know that the NFL and NBA have salary caps and shorter contract lengths, limiting their players’ on-the-books earning potential.

So maybe it’s a baseball star, like the demonstrative Bryce Harper, who recently signed a huge free-agent deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Or Clayton Kershaw, the golden-armed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Or one of the numerous sluggers on the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs or World Series-winning Boston Red Sox.

Allow me to introduce Mike Trout, starting centrefielder for the Los Angeles Angels who, after signing a 12-year, $426.5m (£340.5m) contract extension in April, tops the North American sport salary list.

While some basketball players, like the aforementioned James, make a bit more per year, Trout, 27, will be earning $35m (£27.9m) annual paycheques – guaranteed, unlike other sports – long after 34-year-old ‘King James’ exits the basketball scene.

What’s more, given his performance on the field over his nine-year career, Trout is probably worth every penny – and then some. He is the best player in baseball right now and, arguably, on track to rank among the best players in the 150-year history of the game. His name will be mentioned in the pantheon of baseball legends, alongside the likes of Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Ty Cobb.

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