- Associated Press - Monday, November 12, 2012

NEW YORK — Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year after a season that put him in contention for the MVP award, too.

Trout, who turned 21 on Aug. 7, received all 28 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s AL panel. The center fielder was the eighth unanimous AL pick and the first since Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria in 2008.

“It’s pretty neat,” said Trout, the son of former Minnesota minor leaguer Jeff Trout.

Trout hit .326, second-best in the league to Miguel Cabrera’s .330, with 30 homers and 83 RBIs, and he led the majors with 129 runs and 49 steals. He joined Ted Williams, Mel Ott and Alex Rodriguez as the only players to hit .320 or higher with 30 or more homers in seasons they started as a 20-year-old.

Detroit second baseman Lou Whitaker had been the youngest AL winner in 1978, but he was 3 months, 5 days older than Trout on the day he took home the award.

There could be more to come, too. Trout is among five finalists for AL MVP and is considered the chief challenger to Triple Crown winner Cabrera for that award, which will be announced Thursday.

“It would just top it off,” Trout said.

Trout received the maximum 140 points. Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was second with 63, followed by Texas pitcher Yu Darvish (46), who joined Trout as the only players listed on every ballot.

Trout, a son of former Minnesota minor league infielder Jeff Trout, spent some time in the majors last year but still retained his rookie status. He began this season in the minors and made his first big league appearance this year on April 28 — the day of Harper’s major league debut. Trout‘s season put him in contention for the AL MVP award along with Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera of Detroit. That voting is announced Thursday.

“It would just top it off,” Trout said.

In addition to Trout and Longoria, the only other unanimous AL winners were Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, Tim Salmon, Sandy Alomar Jr., Mark McGwire and Carlton Fisk.

Trout‘s father made it to Double-A as an infielder with the Twins in the mid-1980s and watched his son build a career growing up in New Jersey, where the seasons are short and cold.

“He went out and did it and endured it,” Jeff Trout said.

Added mom Debbie: “All the hard work paid off.”