Ken Griffey Jr. and Cal Ripken Jr. are Major League Baseball’s most marketable players, according to a survey.
Norwalk, Conn.-based Sports Business Daily’s survey polled 30 sports marketers, television and advertising agency executives, baseball corporate sponsors and columnists.
Griffey, a Seattle Mariners outfielder, and Ripken, the Baltimore Orioles’ third baseman, were named on all but one ballot, with Griffey receiving 91 percent of the maximum individual points and Ripken getting 74 percent.
“Griffey and Ripken are the gold standard,” said Peter Kaplan, co-chief executive of National Media Group, a marketing consulting service. “Nobody else combines talent and personality in as potent a package.”
Finishing a distant third, fourth and fifth were first baseman Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox, catcher Mike Piazza of the Los Angeles Dodgers and shortstop Alex Rodriguez of the Mariners.
The 27-year-old Griffey is widely considered one of the best players in the game. An eight-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove Award winner, he is hitting .296 with 30 home runs and 89 runs batted in this season.
“He’s the guy who will be, for the next decade, the face of baseball,” said John Filippeli, senior coordinating producer for Fox Sports.
The 36-year-old Ripken has started a record 2,412 consecutive regular-season games and has made 15 straight All-Star appearances.
Michael Levine, director of marketing for the Athletes and Artists talent agent group, said advertisers couldn’t ask for a better spokesman.
“He’s better than the Energizer Bunny, more reliable than a Duracell battery and tougher than a Chevy truck or Master Lock,” he said. “Even at his age, he’s still cool to kids.”
Some of baseball’s kids, shortstop Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees and third baseman Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves, finished high on the list. Jeter, 23, finished sixth, and Jones, 25, finished seventh.
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