Would Cabrera cash in on Triple Crown?

September, 29, 2012

By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

If Miguel Cabrera can become the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967, there will be plenty of opportunity to cash in.

Major League Baseball and the players' union have already talked with licensees to produce gear should Cabrera accomplish the feat.

And autograph companies are expected to come to the slugger to sign items proclaiming the rare accomplishment.

"There are a lot of people who collect significant moments in sports," said Bobby Mintz of Tri-Star Productions, one of the nation's biggest autographed memorabilia companies. "There are going to be people who will have to get a Cabrera autograph."

Although Mintz said Cabrera could make "six figures" from the deal, he says having Cabrera claim the Triple Crown isn't ideal.

"I'd say Miguel is respected, but not revered," Mintz said. "He doesn't smile much, he doesn't show much personality."

Despite his tremendous year, Cabrera is only the 19th-best-selling jersey in the league since the All-Star break, according to Major League Baseball. That's even with Cabrera's online jersey sales doubling year over year.

"Cabrera's ability to cash in on a Triple Crown is probably similar to Justin Verlander's ability to cash in on last year's Cy Young and MVP awards," said Bill Glenn, senior vice president of The Marketing Arm, a Dallas-based marketing agency. "Certainly it helps marketability, but it's not likely to turn him into a Peyton Manning-like endorser."

Verlander parlayed his awards into getting a cereal deal, Verlander's Fastball Flakes, and a starring role in the "MLB 2K12" video game ad campaign.

The Davie-Brown Index (or Celebrity DBI), a polling service that is owned by The Marketing Arm, reveals that Cabrera is actually well-known. The poll shows that Cabrera is known by 34.2 percent of the U.S. population, which means he is more well-known than Dave Winfield (34 percent), Chipper Jones (33.5), Ray Allen (33), Cliff Lee (32.1) and Philip Rivers (30).

The DBI Poll also reveals that he has a similar influence on consumers to what Tedy Bruschi, Tony Romo and Barry Larkin have.

Cabrera leads the American League in batting average and RBI and has 42 home runs, one behind Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton. Of course, the question remains as to whether Cabrera wants to do much surrounding the feat. His current contract is paying him more than $150 million.