Sunday is Buster Posey bobblehead day at the Giants game. World’s greatest Giants fan, Donna and I will stand in line for an extra hour or so before the game. We did the same last year for the Tim Lincecum bobblehead, that I gave to her. She in turn, gave it to a friend of hers. Maybe I will hold onto the Buster bobblehead for a while. Probably not.
Tim Lincecum, two-time Cy Young winner
I always wondered about the origin of the bobblehead doll. Why is it so popular? And why would you want your likeness to appear on such a weirdly named “thing”. The earliest reference to a bobblehead was back in an 1842 short story, The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol. But the modern bobblehead appeared sometime in the 1950s. By 1960, the modern bobblehead made its debut in major league baseball. These were papier-mache’ bobbleheads, all made with the same cherubic face for each team.
The 1960 World Series produced the first player specific bobbleheads, in the likeness of baseball greats, Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, and the great Willie Mays, all with the SAME face!!!! Over the next ten years, the bobblehead progressed from papier mache’ to ceramic. And of course, one of the most famous bobbleheads was produced during this time, The Beatles bobblehead set. It is one of the most valuable collectibles today.
By the 1970s, bobbleheads began to wane until they returned to prominence, primarily through baseball. Ironically, what prompted their return to prominence was the material of manufacture, having changed from ceramic to plastic. This enabled manufacturers to make bobbleheads in limited numbers. And believe it or not, the first baseball team to offer a bobblehead giveaway was our San Francisco Giants, which gave away 35,000 Willie Mays bobbleheads on May 9, 1999.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have a bobblehead made of your pet, or a good friend upon their birthday? Personally, I would not want to see a likeness of myself on a bobblehead doll. But certainly, a reasonable likeness of our dog Buddy would be welcomed. Bobbleheads have been made for famous characters besides sports stars. Some of these include: Jack Kerouac, Count Chocula, Nobel prize winner James D. Watson, Empire Man, and Ronald McDonald. I could see a really funny George W. Bush bobblehead, and also a Monica Lewinsky!!!
Is it worth standing in line for an extra hour before the game? Probably not. But I am a good sport, and I am sure Donna has a friend who would love a Buster bobblehead. And it will be a glorious day for baseball in San Francisco. Go Giants!!!!
(BTW, Buster was there and got a long ovation when the camera panned on him in the dugout!)