When Derek Jeter received his first professional jersey the Yankees very intentionally gave him the #2 knowing that he would one day become a Hall of Fame player and knowing that they would retire his jersey. When Mike Trout was promoted to the majors he was considered the #1 prospect in all of baseball and was known to be an immediate impact player. Trout was given a jersey with the #27 on the back. Angels fans found this puzzling because Vlad Guerrero had recently vacated the number. Vlad was by far one of the best players in the history of the Angels organization. In 2004 Guerrero won the American League MVP award and many Angels fans thought that the team might one day retire #27 in his honor.
So if the expectations for Trout were just as high as they were for Jeter, why would the Angels put themselves in the position to potentially double retire the #27, once for Guerrero and again for Trout? In addition another popular former player, Darin Erstad, wore the #27 for three years (Erstad won the World Series wearing #17).
Add in to the mix that Mike Trout’s twitter handle is @Trouty20 and the mystery gets deeper. Why didn’t Trout request the #20 if he had an affinity for it? No player was wearing #20 when Trout debuted.
Mike Trout probably doesn’t have a special connection to the #20. He might have chosen it because he was 20 years old when he opened his Twitter account. His uniform numbers in the minors and in high school are all over the place and it appears he only wore the #20 while playing in the Mid-West league for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
It’s unlikely that the Angels will retire the #27 in honor of Guerrero. There is no doubting his excellence while he was with the team but he was not a long term Angel. Guerrero played for the Expos, the Rangers and the Orioles in addition to the Angels. It is likely that Guerrero will become the Angels’ first Hall of Fame inductee but that is not cause enough to retire his number.
It is odd to walk around Angel Stadium and see people wearing #27 shirts with both the names of Guerrero and Trout. It might make sense if there had been more time between the two popular players wearing the number. Guerrero’s last game as an Angel was in 2009, Trout’s first game was in 2011. The answer to why Trout was given the #27 seems elusive. There are two possibilities: 1) The Angels uniform department didn’t put any thought into it at all and it’s just a fluke that Trout has the #27. 2) The Angels knew that #27 was a popular number with Guerrero and they also knew it would be a popular number with Trout and they thought fans would appreciate the connection between the two players. The first seems like the more likely explanation for the time being.
It is possible that Trout may switch numbers at some point. If even Michael Jordan can switch numbers it’s not too far-fetched to think that Trout may switch his uniform number as well.
From Twitter comes this response from Mike himself.
— BODYARMOR SuperDrink (@DrinkBODYARMOR) September 5, 2014