Heads up: A National Bobblehead Day celebration
Think the holidays are over? Think again. Today is National Bobblehead Day. National Bobblehead Day, spearheaded by the Milwaukee-based National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, was first observed in 2015. Thursday marks its seventh iteration. Minor League Baseball teams and fans are among National Bobblehead Day's most committed celebrants,
Think the holidays are over? Think again. Today is National Bobblehead Day.
National Bobblehead Day, spearheaded by the Milwaukee-based National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, was first observed in 2015. Thursday marks its seventh iteration. Minor League Baseball teams and fans are among National Bobblehead Day's most committed celebrants, as the occasion provides an opportunity to share and delight in their favorites.
With that in mind, this article is dedicated to this writer's favorite bobbleheads of the 2010s, one from each season. Consider this a companion piece to Tuesday's article on the decade's top promos, and please: Get in touch to share your favorite bobbleheads via email ([email protected]) or Twitter (@bensbiz), and check out MiLB's bobblehead shop collection here.
2010: Iowa Cubs -- Later
The player to be named later is the most well-traveled, oft-traded individual in the annals of baseball history. Yet he is wholly unsung, anonymous and ignored when it comes to the particulars of his appearance and demeanor. The Triple-A Iowa Cubs sought to rectify this collective oversight by giving away bobbleheads featuring a player literally named Later. Ten years later, Later remains one of the most inspired bobbleheads of all time.
2011: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers -- Scooter vs. the Snowman
After the Class A Timber Rattlers' 2010 home opener was snowed out, a young Milwaukee Brewers infield prospect (and current free agent) by the name of Scooter Gennett took out his frustrations by pulverizing an on-field snowman with a bat. A year later, the team immortalized this unique occurrence with a bobblehead depicting Gennett's vicious assault on this (hopefully) insentient being.
2012: Bradenton Marauders -- Trevor Gooby and Baby McKechnie
In late February 2012, Pittsburgh Pirates director of Florida operations Trevor Gooby helped deliver a baby during a Spring Training game at McKechnie Field. The Class A Advanced Marauders commemorated this moment later in the summer with a "Babies on Deck" theme night, highlighted by a bobblehead featuring Gooby triumphantly holding the baby (a boy named McKechnie in honor of the circumstances of his birth).
2013: Lowell Spinners -- Jack Kerouac, high school football player
The Class A Short Season Lowell Spinners have long had one of the most bobblehead-heavy promo slates in Minor League Baseball -- so much so that they maintain a comprehensive list of team bobblehead facts and figures on their website. One of the Spinners' most popular honorees was Jack Kerouac, Lowell native-turned-internationally known peripatetic beat writer. The Spinners have given away a triumvirate of Kerouac bobbleheads, depicting him with a notepad (2003), hitchhiking (2012), and in 2013, his most obscure iteration yet: Lowell High School football player.
2014: Akron RubberDucks -- Rock 'n' Bobblehead series (DEVO, Joe Walsh, Chrissie Hynde, Black Keys)
Cleveland rocks, but don't forget about Akron. Over the course of the 2014 season, the Double-A Akron RubberDucks gave away bobblehead versions of four local rock music legends: DEVO, Joe Walsh, Chrissie Hynde and the Black Keys. The series kicked off with the DEVO giveaway; founding member (and Akron native) Mark Mothersbaugh was in attendance, and the team staged a silent charity auction featuring an array of unique DEVO memorabilia.
2015: Round Rock Express -- Willie Nelson
Country music legend Willie Nelson has done a lot in his long and rambling lifetime, but it took until 2015 for him to authorize production of a bobblehead featuring his likeness. The Triple-A Round Rock Express, located just outside of Willie's Austin stomping grounds, had the honor of producing them. This was the first entry in the Express' ongoing annual "Texas Legends" bobblehead series, which has gone on to include George Strait, Earl Campbell, Andy Roddick and Matthew McConaughey. Cat Osterman was scheduled to appear in bobble form during the canceled 2020 season.
2016: Lexington Legends -- Glenn Hubbard and snake
Glenn Hubbard's 1984 Fleer baseball card featured a photo of him on the field at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium, posing assuredly with a giant snake draped over his shoulders. In 2016, long after his pregame snake-handling days, Hubbard was a member of the Class A Legends coaching staff. The team honored him with a bobblehead inspired by the aforementioned, inexplicably weird card. In addition to featuring a snake, the bobblehead paid homage to Hubbard's bushy beard by including lifelike facial hair.
2017: Chattanooga Lookouts -- Jackie Mitchell
On March 28, 1931, a teenage girl struck out two of the greatest hitters of all time. The pitcher was 17-year-old Jackie Mitchell, the hitters were Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and it all went down at Double-A Chattanooga's Engel Stadium during an exhibition game between the New York Yankees and the home-team Lookouts. Mitchell's incredible feat, still widely scrutinized and celebrated, prompted the Lookouts to belatedly honor her with a bobblehead.
2018: Hagerstown Suns -- Billy Ripken
Like Lexington's Glenn Hubbard bobblehead, Class A Hagerstown's ode to Billy Ripken was inspired by a Fleer baseball card. You might know the one featuring Ripken posing with a bat handle displaying a colorful bit of profanity on the knob. The Suns' bobblehead version of Ripken's iconic pose was family-friendly, however, as it had a smiley face in place of the swear word. Before joining the Baltimore Orioles as his brother Cal's double-play partner, Billy spent parts of two seasons (1984-85) as a member of the Suns. It is unknown if profanities were emblazoned on his bat knobs when he played for the club.
2019: Syracuse Mets -- Butter Sculpture Scooch
The Triple-A Syracuse Mets played a 2019 game as the Butter Sculptures, a tribute to the massive butter sculptures that have long been a New York State Fair tradition. As part of this bizarre regionally specific endeavor, the team gave away bobbleheads depicting mascot Scooch as a yellow-hued butter sculpture toting two buckets of milk. Presumably, Scooch will be using the milk to make butter, which in turn can be made into a butter sculpture. It's all very meta.
Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.