The 2014 World Series went six compelling games, the ratings were solid, the beards full, and the performances—and umps’ calls—memorable.

But what does it all mean for the endorsement fortunes of the Red Sox and Cardinals’ players? Do any of them have the clout to lead major campaigns, or the power to compel consumers to buy? Is baseball too regional a sport for advertisers seeking athlete pitchmen with national appeal? And with so many jocks embroiled in scandal, and a social media landscape that amplifies every indiscretion into major news, are marketers willing to risk big bucks to tie their products to these guys?

Here’s how this sports marketing expert rates the product-pitching talent:



David Ortiz.  The Series MVP now has three rings, a new 2014 Chevy Silverado, and a Hall of Fame resume. One of the game’s most recognizable and well-liked players, Big Papi is perhaps the only one from this Big Show who could carry a national campaign.

His current endorsement income is in the neighborhood of $3-4M a year, and could see a $1M yearly bump following his remarkable Series performance at the plate. Not even an alleged positive test for PED’s revealed in 2009 has done much to damage his appeal. Look for him to show up on talk shows, cereal boxes, milk mustache ads, maybe even a trip to Disney World in the near future. Lethal to opposing pitchers, yet lovable to fans, Big Papi’s got the power to pitch power tools, muscle cars and trucks, or given his girth, any fast food. A good choice to reach the booming Hispanic market, too. And his “This is our f’ing city” quote could be the tagline for any local Boston ad campaign. The way he hit in this Series, Fox ought to add him to all future promos for their new show “Almost Human.”



Dustin Pedroia.  A big talent in a small package, Pedroia now has a second ring to go with his 2007 Rookie of the Year and 2008 MVP awards. Comfortable and charismatic on camera, his feisty character and role as Boston’s sparkplug could earn him deals with AC Delco or Champion. And as the kind of hard-nosed player who always has the dirtiest uniform after a game, Pedroia would be a good subject for any bleach or laundry detergent “before and after” spot.

Shane Victorino.  The Flyin’ Hawaiian has now won rings with the Red Sox and Phillies, and his clutch hits this postseason have endeared him with Boston fans. Victorino offers an ebullient personality, speaks well, and his Hawaiian heritage is a plus.

PETA once sent him a letter urging him to stop eating Spam. Would love to see Shane pitch the product in a commercial, singing the Monty Python Spam song. And as the record holder for most postseason HBPs, Victorino qualifies for deals with Ben Gay, Advil or Band-Aid.

Koji Uehara.  Will make serious marketing yen in his native Japan. But could possibly land deals stateside with Japan Airlines or Kikkoman. His comment that he “almost threw-up” on the mound during the ALCS could earn him a Pepto-Bismol or Mylanta deal.  And his cute son Kaz should be in one of those AT&T kids’ spots.

Jonny Gomes.  A player whose personality exceeds his talent. Always fun on camera, and a major instigator of Boston’s beard attack. Ought to have his own line of non-grooming products.

Mike Napoli.  Team him up with Jonny Gomes in a beard pulling contest. The first to say “uncle” buys the winner a McDonald’s Big Mac meal.

Yadier Molina.  A Molina brother–Yadier, Bengie or Jose–has appeared in seven of the past 12 World Series. And own five Series rings among them. Team them up in a three-way call for any telecom company, discussing catching strategy. Yadier’s neck tats may scare away conservative marketers, though.

Carlos Beltran.  Always plays big in October, yet this was his first World Series appearance in his 16-year career—and it didn’t turn out well. As winner of the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award, Beltran is huge in community service, but needs a ring to score with national advertisers. And at age 36, his time’s running out

Michael Wacha.  The breakout star of the postseason, Wacha is only 22, has superstar potential and a highly memorable name. Though he faltered in Series Game 6, his future looks very bright, with heavy playoff exposure likely. Sign him now before he gets expensive.

Matt Holliday.  Has enjoyed a solid career and plenty of postseason exposure, but has never been stellar enough to inspire national advertisers. Good looking enough to pitch men’s fashion, fragrances or grooming products. Or how about a commercial where a businesswoman is disappointed to learn that her Holiday Inn room doesn’t come with Matt Holliday inside it?

Jon Lester.  Lester is a cancer survivor who’s helped pitch Boston to championships in 2007 and 2013. An inspiring story worthy of a movie, book and/or speaking tour.

Will Middlebrooks & Allen Craig.  Team them up for any fast food ad, with Middlebrooks “obstructing” the hungry Craig’s path to the counter.

Jacoby Ellsbury.  As the first Navajo Native American to play in the Majors, Ellsbury is the perfect candidate to help Taco Bell introduce a Navajo Fry Bread Taco to a national audience.

John Lackey.  Has now won two Series-clinching games. Decent choice for any product that gets the job done when it matters most.

Xander Bogaerts.  At 21, the youngest player in this Series. One to keep an eye on for the future, or to use now for an Aruba tourism campaign.

Matt Carpenter.  Dead ringer for Kevin from the Backstreet Boys. Possible choice for an “I Want It That Way” spot for Burger King. Or team him up with Molina in a Home Depot spot, singing “If I were a Carpenter, and you were a Yadi…”

Craig Breslow.  Disappointing performance on the mound, but the Yale grad with a double major in biochem & biophysics has been called “the smartest man in baseball.” Wise choice for any high-IQ product: computers, smart phones, financial services, Google Glass.

Adam Wainwright.  Cards’ ace was 0-2 in the Series, but might have a shot pitching any beverage product under the headline “The Wainwright Stuff.”

Joe Kelly.  Wears glasses when he pitches, but not when he bats. Interesting subject for Lenscrafters or any LASIK doctor.

John Axford.  Good name for a Honda spot, in which he actually axes a Ford. Or of course, there’s always Axford for the Axe Effect.

Junichi Tazawa.  Only if you can’t afford Koji Uehara.


David Freese.  His 2011 Series MVP award never translated into major ad deals, nor will his lackluster performance this year. Still, a worthwhile name for Baskin-Robbins, Dairy Queen or any frozen snack food.

David Ross.  Beard revealed he’s actually 50 years old. Possible choice for a Just For Men demo.

Trevor Rosenthal.  Closers rarely close major ad deals—unless they’re heavily bearded and borderline insane.

Clay Buchholz.  If you must use him, try to avoid closeups.

Mike Carp.  See Clay Buchholz.

Matt Adams. Not a factor.

David Descalso.  So-so.

Jerrod Saltalamacchia.  Too long a name.

Pete Kozma.  No hit, no field, no deals.

Stephen Drew.  Drew a blank.

Jon Jay.  Jay walk.

Daniel Nava.  Nada.

Brandon Workman.  No work, man.

Lance Lynn.  Lynnsanity.

Kevin Siegrist.  Siegrist…out!

Kolten Wong.  Insert your own “Wong-wrong” pun here.


Bob Dorfman is a Creative Director at San Francisco’s Baker Street Advertising, and a nationally recognized sports marketing expert whose insightful and pithy punditry has been featured on ESPN, Fox, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, CNBC and NPR, and in Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Sporting News, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other major media. Since 1989, he has been writing his Sports Marketers’ Scouting Reports on the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, and the Summer and Winter Olympics.


Contact Bob at 415-659-3929 (office) or 415-308-9606 (mobile)

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