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Trout's rookie season reminds Leyland of Fidrych

ANAHEIM -- The 2012 American League MVP debate between the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera and the Angels' Mike Trout is long over, and there was no sense for manager Jim Leyland to wade into it.

Still, the questions about Trout were bound to come up during the Tigers' weekend series at Angel Stadium. Leyland called him the most talented rookie he has ever seen break into the game. As far as the rookie who had the biggest impact, he brought up another name: Mark Fidrych.

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"Because he caught the entire nation by storm," Leyland said. "Now, Trout was huge in his statistics, but I'm talking about the magnitude of the whole thing and catching people's attention. That was probably the biggest that I've ever seen. That was phenomenal."

Leyland managed Fidrych in the Tigers' farm system, as well as during his comeback attempt. He was on hand when Fidrych returned to the big leagues.

He doesn't mean it as a slight to Trout, but as a recognition of the craze that The Bird created during his incredible rookie season of 1976.

"I'm talking about people from other cities who packed the park to see this guy," Leyland said. "Mark Fidrych was the most phenomenal thing in my time."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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