Gillette has been a Major League Baseball sponsor since Joe DiMaggio and the Yankees swept the Reds in the 1939 World Series -- the longest such relationship in North American pro sports. Ads for the company featuring MLB players date back more than a century, with shaving endorsements from the likes of Honus Wagner, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Hank Aaron and Derek Jeter.
Why not celebrate the 75th anniversary with a bang?
MLB and Gillette on Wednesday announced that the latter will be the title sponsor of the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby, won last year by Yoenis Cespedes of the A's, which will feature eight sluggers still to be named. The event takes place on Monday, July 14, as part of All-Star Week at Target Field in Minnesota, and it will be televised live on ESPN starting at 8 p.m. ET and featuring live coverage by MLB Advanced Media, which coordinates the popular social-media interaction by players around the field.
You can still have a say in determining the participants. The All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian also features the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Select up to three candidates in each league, and the final results will be considered as MLB determines the field for this event.
In addition to Cespedes, these are your American League candidates: Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, Carlos Beltran of the Yankees, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, 2011 winner Robinson Cano of the Mariners, Chris Davis of the Orioles, '09 and '12 winner Prince Fielder of the Rangers (who is injured and likely out for the season), All-Star Ambassador Joe Mauer of the Twins, '10 winner David Ortiz of the Red Sox and Mike Trout of the Angels.
The 10 National League candidates are Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates, Jay Bruce of the Reds, Paul Goldschmidt of the D-backs, Bryce Harper of the Nationals, Jason Heyward of the Braves, Buster Posey of the Giants, Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers, Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies and David Wright of the Mets.
The Gillette Home Run Derby, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, again will raise funds for MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program and charities including Boys & Girls Clubs of America. More than $3 million has been raised over the past 10 years, with an all-time high of $615,000 donated through the 2012 event, as a special gold ball is traditionally inserted whenever a contestant reaches nine outs.
The summer showcase event has grown in recent years through multiple innovations. In addition to the rise of social engagement by players, this also will mark the fourth consecutive year featuring captains for the AL and NL squads, who will select the other participants and personally invite them. The captains for this year's event, as well as other details, will be announced in the coming weeks
"Gillette has partnered with Major League Baseball longer than any other company, and the Gillette Home Run Derby is a terrific way to celebrate our 75th anniversary of working together," said Tim Brosnan, MLB executive vice president of business. "With outstanding performances, the successful introduction of players engaging in social media during the event and integration of captains from each league in previous years, the Derby continues to be fresh, entertaining and one of the most popular events on the sports calendar."
"Whether you're standing at the plate waiting to crush the ball or in front of the mirror prepping for an optimal shave, we understand that maximum contact is very important when performing your best," said Hooman Shahidi, senior brand manager of Gillette North America. "That's why we're excited to partner with Major League Baseball during the Home Run Derby to promote our new Gillette Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall Technology, which features a new dimension of movement to better meet a man's face, resulting in maximum contact and fewer missed hairs."
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.