Cabrera's cap launch has fans flipping lids

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Ferndale – Miguel Cabrera has recorded plenty of hits throughout his major league career.

Tigers' Miguel Cabrera is seen, Thursday at Second Story Interiors in Ferndale to debut his new hat.

On Thursday night, the Detroit Tigers first baseman unveiled what he hopes will become his latest one: the “Miggy hat.”

Cabrera had a limited release of his new hat collection during a launch party at Second Story Interiors, a mass production picture framing company that specializes in sports memorabilia.

The hat features Cabrera’s personal brand logo of a crown atop the letter M. The M stands for his first name and the crown represents his 2012 Triple Crown season, when he became the 15th player and first since Boston Red Sox’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to achieve the feat with an American League-leading .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs.

And there’s not just one or two different styles but 23 different variations, ranging from solid and camouflage color schemes to zebra stripes and celestial designs — all of which were picked by Cabrera.

Only 300 tickets — at $200 apiece — were available for the two-hour private event that included a “Miggy hat,” which won’t be available for retail until final distribution plans are announced, and a meet and greet for all attendees with Cabrera in the showroom area.

Tigers Miguel Cabrera poses for a photo with fans Carter Trautmann, 12, of Livonia and his uncle Bryan Donnell of Clawson, Thursday at Second Story Interiors in Ferndale to debut his new hat.

There was also live entertainment with a DJ, food and drink vendors and walls of Detroit sports memorabilia in the adjoining warehouse.

People of all ages and from all over were in attendance toting posters and pictures of all sizes, like lifelong Tigers fans Bonnie Whitaker, 48, and Betty Woodwyk, 74. The mother-daughter duo made the 170-mile trek from Holland to meet Cabrera, who wasn’t made available for comment.

“We left around 1 p.m. and got here around 5:30 p.m.,” said Whitaker, who had Cabrera snap of selfie of the two of them. “I think the hat is cool. I think the whole thing is cool.”

Whitaker said she and her mom have been to spring training and numerous games, but never to an event like Cabrera’s launch party.

“I saw it on Instagram a couple weeks ago and looked at the calendar said I got to work that day and kind of blew it off,” Whitaker said. “I was driving to work on Monday and said to myself, ‘That would be awesome to do.’

“I looked it up on my phone and when I got to work, I called her and said, ‘You got $200? You want to meet Miggy?’”

Autographed hats are seen signed by Tigers Miguel Cabrera.

The price of admission was well worth it for Bryan Donnell, of Clawson, and his 12-year-old nephew Carter Trautmann, who were the first ones in line. Donnell said he arrived around 3:30 p.m. — well before the 7 p.m. start time — and bought his ticket as soon as they went on sale on May 3.

“We’ve been to a few Miggy signings before at DC Sports,” Donnell said. “He’s met (Cabrera) twice and this is actually my sixth time meeting him. I’ve just been a big fan of his so when I heard he was promoting this hat, I looked at it and loved the style and said ‘Man, for $200 why not?’

“You’re getting an autograph, a hat, they’re feeding you, there’s drinks and they’re entertaining you. … I ordered mine the day it was posted on Instagram two weeks ago. I bought them and called (Trautmann’s) mom the next morning and told her about it and she’s like yeah he can go.”

According to Second Story Interiors owner Terry Gilbert, Cabrera approached him about the idea to host the event a couple months ago.

“We had a relationship with Miggy for a while with signings and memorabilia, and we built a friendship,” Gilbert said. “With us being in business of memorabilia, he reached out to us about the hat and distributing it. We moved into a new building in September and he said, ‘Hey I got this new hat and you got this new building, let’s do something.’ And that’s how it all started.

“It’s definitely an honor to be a part of this but that’s how Miggy is. He’s not a corporate guy; he’s really down to earth. To be honest, just even trying to talk to him about distribution and stuff like that, his biggest interest was this launch party and being with fans.”

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins