Mike Trout is the Golden Boy, Albert Pujols is one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, Garrett Richards and Jared Weaver dominant starting pitchers, and Josh Hamilton is Robert Downey Jr. with a huge bat. But if you want genuine inspiration, Howie Kendrick's story can't be topped. Raised with no father and a mother who traveled often as a U.S. Army staff sergeant, Kendrick and his two sisters were raised by his maternal grandmother, sharing a double-wide trailer 20 miles out of Jacksonville with two great-aunts and assorted cousins. His only scholarship offer was from a podunk community college, St. Johns River, a school whose baseball program was so mediocre that his first minor-league manager, Tom Kotchman told Sports Illustrated, “The last guy drafted out of that school went to Vietnam.” But Kotchman, who is also an Angels scout, caught wind of Kendrick's talent and, on a whim, decided to check him out. He kept a lid on the kid, secretly urging the Angels to draft him, which they did in the 10th round of the 2002 draft. He debuted for the Angels in 2006 and by 2009 was entrenched as the starting second baseman. An All-Star selection in 2011, Kendrick signed a fat, four-year, $35.5 million contract after that season. Though often the subject of trade rumors, he's one of the more unheralded guns on a team bursting with heavy artillery.