Go ahead and shake ’em…Just don’t break ’em

1/25/11                   Rockies Bobbleheads are back.

Rockies 2010 promotions.jpgI think baseball bobbleheads are a one of a kind collectable. There are a lot of different baseball bobbleheads out there but as far as the Rockies are concerned it’s quite possible to collect all of them.

                Here’s a little bobblehead history for you.

  Bobbleheads are thought to date back at least 150 years. The earliest known reference to anything “bobblehead like” is from the 1842 short story “The Overcoat” by Nikolai Gogol. There was a character in this story described as having a neck which was “like the neck of plaster cats which wag their heads”.

Several years later ceramic figures of animals, ranging in size from about 6 to 8 inches, were produced in Germany. The heads of these German toys were spring-connected heads and were referred to as “nodders” or “bobbers”.

In the 1920s, a New York Knicks basketball player bobblehead was created and this sparked a renewed interest in bobbleheads. However, by the 1930s interest had waned. From 1930- 1950s bobbleheads were only produced in very small numbers as novelty items.

RogerMarisBobblehead-100.jpgBeginning 1960 Major League Baseball decided to create a series of paper-mache bobblehead dolls for every baseball team.

Unfortunately the bobbleheads were all made with the same angel-like face. Player-specific dolls for Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente and Roger Maris were produced for the first time and sold to fans during the 1960 World Series.

Their uniforms were different but just as before the bobbleheads had identical faces. These bobbleheads were made from flimsy paper-mache construction not very many of them still exist in good shape. Most suffer from major chipping and cracking.

In the 1970’s they started using ceramic materials to make the bobble heads. The popularity of bobbleheads began to spread to other sports as well as musicians.

The original Beatles bobblehead set is one of the most famous and rare of all time and is quite a valuable collectible today.

original beatles bobbleheads.jpg By the mid-1970s, bobble head popularity again began to fizzle and bobblehead production nearly ceased.

Almost twenty years would pass before the bobblehead would make another comeback.In the 1990s manufacturing processes allowed bobbleheads to be made from plastic instead of ceramic. This material dramatically reducing the expense and difficulty of creating quality bobblehead products.  

Willie_Mays_Bobblehead_1998-100.jpgIn 1999 the San Francisco Giants handed out 35,000 free Willie Mays bobbleheads during one of their games.
These bobble heads were a huge hit among fans and collectors.

This giveaway and a decrease in manufacturing costs sparked the resurgence of the bobblehead.

There are even companies out there who offer customized bobbleheads.

Bobbleheads come in all shapes and sizes now. My favorites are the ones that get handed out as promotional items at the stadium.                           

                Here are some examples of those. 

Check out what the SFGiants did. In August 2010 they had a Grateful Dead Night..and gave away Jerry Garcia singing bobbleheads.

                          Mini Jerry sings “Suger Magnolia”

Jerry Garcia bobblehead.jpgSame park..September Carlos Santana Night…The mini Carlos sings “Oye Coma Va”. I want one of these but they’re not cheap. If you find one make sure
 it has a working battery.

                     Santana threw out the first pitch of that game.

carlos(12).jpgThere are even controversial bobbleheads. Again this next one is from the Giants.

                     The Barry Bonds homerun tracking bobblehead.

Barry Bonds Home Run counter bobblehead.jpg              Over the years the Rockies have dabbled in bobbleheads.

Here are all of the Rockies bobbleheads that I have or have found pictures for..I know there are a couple I’m missing but I couldn’t find them.

I believe there was an Rockies announcer bobblehead that was handed out around 2000. 

                    Here’s the Larry Walker bobblehead from 2002.  
Larry Walker Rockies bobblehead.jpg                    Here’s the Matt Holliday bobble head from 2008.Matt Holliday Bobblehead.jpg                       Troy Tulowitzki’s bobblehead from 2008.
Tulowitzki Rockies bobblehead.jpgHeres another Troy Tulowitzki bobblehead . The Modesto Nuts gave this one away when Tulo did his rehab there on August 9, 2009.
Tulowitzki Modesto Nuts bobblehead.jpg
The Todd Helton 2001 Golden Glove bobbleheads were given to Coors Field patrons in 2002. Dan gave me this one a few years back. It’s my favorite.Todd Helton 2001 Golden Glove bobblhead.jpg

Here’s a Todd Helton bobblehead that wasn’t given away at Coors Field. This bobblehead was given away by the Salem Avalanche on May 3rd 2002.
Todd Helton bobblhead salem avalanche.jpg
   Here’s Todd striking a pose for his bobblehead handed out in 2008.

Todd Helton Bobblehead 2008.jpg   
                   Jim Tracy had a bobblehead back in the day.
Jim Tracy Bobblhead.jpg Even Rockies mascot Dinger is forever cast in ceramic. There were 10,000 of these handed out on July 21, 2002.Dinger Bobblehead.jpg

I found two non-Rockies Huston Street bobbleheads. It appears that these two bobbleheads were issued within a month of each other.

                                This one on April 16, 2006.
Huston Street Bobblehead 4-16-06.jpg                                 This one on May 19, 2006.
Huston Street Bobblehead 5-19-06.jpg Here’s a couple Jason Giambi bobbleheads. The first one was for his 400th homerun on May 21, 2009. It was given out on August 21, 2009.
Jason Giambi 8-21-09 400th home run.jpgThis bobblehead was handed out by the Columbus Clippers on August 18, 2002.

Giambi bobblehead columbus clippers 8-18-02.jpg Bobbleheads are fun
 from a collector’s point of view because the ones handed out at baseball stadiums are of limited number. Interesting because they are a unique piece of baseball art and just plain cool because kids and adults alike dig ’em.

You can bet I’ll be standing in at Coors Field onApril 17th, June 10th and August 20th.  

I’m “D” The Rockpile Ranter and no matter how you shake yours… Bobbleheads are a fan favorite.
ranter hat1


  1. queenof331@coloradorockies.net

    What a wealth of information you are! Thanks for all of your research! I used to have a Jeff Kingery bobblehead, but don’t see it at the moment. Fan Fest looked like so much fun for everyone! It’s the first one that I missed. Next year for sure! Thanks Don.

  2. rockieluv

    Hey D,
    BOBBLEHEADS?!!!!!! Awesome! Looks like I need to get tix to those games! Thanks for the heads up, bobbleheads are so cool.
    Looking forward to the season to start!

  3. raysrenegade

    I am one of those bobblehead fanatics.
    I always said if I won the Lotto or Powerball I would open a bar called “Bobbles” and every wall would feature a different sports bobblehead.
    Heck, even got lucky enought when I went to a Indians/Rays game in C-town to get a Drew Carey bobblehead….
    Now if I can just have a dream and remember those numbers!

    Rays Renegade

  4. rocktober2007

    Oh yeah glad I haven’t sent in my Event Services schedule or other wise I would’ve missed out on the T-shirt & bobblehead giveaways.Missy

  5. lsznsk@comcast.net

    “D”…Great story on bobbleheads. Been a fan of bobbleheads for many years…though not many in my collection. Ubaldo bobblehead giveway tomorrow, unfortunately I’ll be at work.

    Had dinner with a friend of mine along with his wife yesterday. He works for King Soopers. During dinner he hands me a bag…saying they were doing major cleaning of the store room and the two items in the bag were going to be thrown away. One of the items is the 2008 Todd Helton bobblehead. I could not believe it. Upon closer look, the box shows Todd in that infamous pose of the last out of the 2007 National League Championship . (The picture also shows Burns’ slide into first base…”just a bit short”.) Needless to say the dinner was on me. Just had to share that story with you (sorry for the long comment). Bobbleheads forever! D_L

    • "D" The Rockpile Ranter

      D_L-Great Story brotha. I’m not a huge collector of bobbleheads but I can tell you I don’t miss an opportunity to get one. I really like that 2008 Todd Helton bobblehead also. Thanks for sharing your story and welcome to the Rant…D

  6. lsznsk@comcast.net

    D: I (also my wife and son) actually did get to go to the Sunday’s Ubaldo bobble head giveaway game; after some trading of work shifts and a promise of a future six-pack. We were able to get three dolls. I’m beginning to think the box is more interesting that the bobble head itself. We sat below the scoreboard in left field, in the handicap seats (my son is disabled). I saw the pictures you took of that game…very impressive! Much better that the pics one would buy at a sports collectables store. D-L

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