Thurm: Major League Baseball reaches for its stars in the post-Jeter era

From SABR member Wendy Thurm at the New Yorker on April 9, 2015:

The New York Yankees opened the 2015 season with a dispiriting 6—1 loss at home, but perhaps more dispiriting, to the team and to Major League Baseball, was the absence of one man: Derek Jeter, who retired last year after two decades as the Yankees’ shortstop and the league’s unassailable marquee player. While there is a new crop of young players who combine spectacular on-field performances with appealing personalities, none has reached quite the same level of star power—something M.L.B. is hoping to change.

At the height of his popularity, Jeter earned nine million dollars a year in endorsements from the likes of Nike, Gatorade, Ford, and Movado; he regularly topped lists of the most powerful, the most marketable, and the most recognizable professional athletes in the world. Today, Mike Trout is the only active baseball player to crack the top ten on those lists, whether the metrics use on-field performance coupled with social-media presence, or a secret stew of marketing value. None of the lists include players such as Giancarlo Stanton, who regularly hits four-hundred-and-fifty-foot home runs for the Miami Marlins, or Clayton Kershaw, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lefty ace who has won the National League Cy Young Award in three of the past four years.

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Originally published: April 9, 2015. Last Updated: April 9, 2015.