07/29/2008 9:14 AM ET
Top 10 upcoming promotions
Previewing can't-miss events at ballparks across the Minor Leagues
By Benjamin Hill / Special to MLB.com
Minor League teams are known for their game-day promotions. Every Tuesday during the season, we'll preview 10 of the best for the week ahead. If you'd like a particular promotion to be considered for this feature in the future, please send it to email@example.com with the subject line: "Promo Preview."
Greeneville Astros (Appalachian League)
Andrew Johnson Bobblehead, July 31
Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of these United States and a longtime resident of Greeneville, Tenn., died in nearby Elizabethton on July 31, 1875. On Thursday, the Astros will commemorate the 133rd anniversary of Johnson's passing by distributing bobblehead dolls bearing his presidential likeness. The dolls depict Johnson in full 19th-century sartorial splendor, including a natty vest and a downright vampiric-looking cape. Adding another layer of historical significance to the evening is the fact the Astros' opponent will be none other than the Elizabethton Twins. Who will emerge triumphant? The team representing the city where Johnson lived, or the one that hails from the place where he died?
Lowell Spinners (New York-Penn League)
Mike Lowell Spinners Night, July 31
The Spinners are the only team in Minor League Baseball that hails from a city that shares a name with a star player from their Major League affiliate. That player is Boston's Mike Lowell, of course, and for each of the past three seasons the Spinners have held a night in his honor. For this most special evening, the club will take the field in custom-made "Mike Lowell Spinners" jerseys, which will be auctioned off after the game. And, in honor of the fact that Lowell is such a prolific doubles hitter, "Mike Lowell Double Cheeseburgers" will be offered at the concession stand. Lowell himself will not be in attendance, despite the fact that the Red Sox have the night off.
Toledo Mud Hens (International League)
Tribute to Bob Night, July 31
Sponge Bob Square Pants will be making an appearance at Toledo's Fifth Third Field on Thursday, but the Mud Hens aren't content to have the animated sponge be the evening's sole focus. Instead, the club has decided to also pay tribute to Bobs of all kinds. Fans will bob for apples and compete in Bob trivia contests, and those who are lucky enough to be named Bob will be eligible to win Mud Hens BOBBleheads. Music by the likes of Bob Seger and Bob Marley will play over the PA between innings, as well as clips from the movie "What About Bob?" Meanwhile, Detroit Tigers PA announcer Bobb Vergiels will be on hand to introduce all players as "Bob," regardless of their given names.
Inland Empire 66ers (California League)
Scooter Giveaway, Aug. 2
Inland Empire's upcoming scooter giveaway has nothing to do with Hall of Fame shortstop Phil Rizzuto and everything to do with sleek and stylish motorized mopeds. On Saturday, those in need of a new form of transportation should head to Arrowhead Credit Union Park, where the 66ers will be giving away a half-dozen scooters throughout the evening. Fans over the age of 18 will be eligible to win these energy-saving miniature motorbikes, which consume gas by the teaspoon as opposed to the gallons.
Oklahoma RedHawks (Pacific Coast League)
Mickey Mantle Bobblehead Giveaway/William "Refrigerator" Perry Appearance, Aug. 2
While "Mickey and the Fridge" sounds like the title of an ill-fated cop buddy movie, it is in fact the pair of athletes who will be celebrated at Saturday's RedHawks game. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a Mickey Mantle "Commerce Comet" bobblehead, which pays tribute to the Hall of Famer's roots as a native of Commerce, Okla. Meanwhile, representing both a different sport and a different time, William "Refrigerator" Perry will be on hand to sign autographs. The legendary Chicago Bears defensive lineman will always be remembered for his massive girth, and word is that he hasn't gotten any smaller in retirement.
Portland Beavers (Pacific Coast League)
Leave It to Beaver Bobblehead and Jerry Mathers Appearance, Aug. 2
The Portland Beavers stage one "signature" promotion each season, and on these special evenings big crowds and an event atmosphere are guaranteed. Two years ago it was the Rodney McCray Bobblefence, and last season it was the brilliant Bob L. Head Bobblehead. This year, the club is playing off its name and date of origin by giving away 1903 "Leave It to Beaver" bobbleheads, which of course pay tribute to the iconic 1950s television show. Furthermore, none other than "Beaver Cleaver" is the evening's guest of honor, as former child star Jerry Mathers will be on hand to throw out the first pitch and sign autographs.
Visalia Oaks (California League)
Dairy Day w/Cowbell Giveaway, Aug. 2
Visalia's Recreation Park is one of the smallest stadiums in the Minors, but that doesn't mean it's one of the quietest. Far from it, in fact. Click here for full story.
Augusta GreenJackets (South Atlantic League)
Brett Favre Night, Aug. 4
It might not have anything to do with baseball or the state of Georgia, but the drama, uncertainty and general chaos surrounding Brett Favre's recent decision to "unretire" is too hilarious a situation for the Augusta GreenJackets to ignore. On Monday, the club will "honor" the indecisive QB by giving away flip-flops to the first 100 fans through the gates. Then, they will retire Favre's No. 4 in a pregame ceremony, only to un-retire it the next day. Wisconsin specialties such as brats and Pabst will be served at the concession stands, and contests such as the "Lambeau Leap" and the "Strahan Sack" will take place between innings. Unless the GreenJackets change their mind, of course.
Yakima Bears (Northwest League)
Dave Edler Bobblehead Giveaway, Aug. 4
Before moving into the cutthroat world of politics, Yakima Mayor Dave Edler played six seasons in the cutthroat world of professional baseball. The former Major Leaguer made his pro debut in 1978 with the Northwest League's Bellingham Mariners, where his manager was current Bears skipper Bob Didier. On Monday, the club will honor Edler's three-decade evolution from prominent prospect to prominent politician by distributing 1,000 bobblehead dolls "bear"-ing his likeness.
Reading Phillies (Eastern League)
Michael Jack Schmidt in the Box Giveaway and Mustache Tribute, Aug. 5
As any Phillies fan can tell you, Mike Schmidt's middle name is "Jack." That simple fact has resulted in the R-Phils' latest unique giveaway item: the Michael Jack Schmidt in the Box. This highly detailed bust statue features Schmidt in his Reading uniform (he played for the club in 1971) and plays "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to boot. And, in honor of Schmidt's robust upper-lip facial hair, the club will pay tribute to mustaches of all kinds throughout the evening.
Bonus Coverage! The now-obligatory rundown of worthy promos that weren't featured in last week's column. (Why won't this column end? I just want to go home.)
National Gorgeous Grandma Night (Bowie Baysox, July 23) -- Who doesn't love it when foxy older women all congregate in one place?
Yankee Night Light Giveaway (Tampa Yankees, July 23) -- Because even the Bronx Bombers are scared of the dark sometimes.
Justin Verlander Bobblehead (Lakeland Flying Tigers, July 25) -- Verlander was a Florida State League All-Star with Lakeland in 2005, and on Friday the club gave away bobbleheads commemorating this fact.
Turn Back the Clock Night (Great Lakes Loons, July 26) -- In which the Loons took the field wearing replica road jerseys of the 1940s-era Dow ACs.
Frank the Hot Dog Baseball Giveaway (Everett AquaSox, July 27) -- This ball had a lot of mustard on it.
Hall of Fame Night (Jamestown Jammers, July 28) -- In honor of the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, the Jammers gave a free ticket to all fans who share a last name with a Hall of Famer. Additionally, the club priced select concession items at $2.75, in honor of Ernie Banks' lifetime average. Why Ernie Banks? Because he shares a name with a current Jamestown player.
Michael Zagurski "Made the Phillies" Bobblehead (Lakewood BlueClaws, July 29) -- The portly young left-hander was immortalized in bobble form after making it to the bigs in '07.
Benjamin Hill is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.