Bobbling Along

March 23, 2011

When did bobble heads become coveted momentos? Once folks went to a game and perhaps buy one as a souvenir. Today they go on Bobble Head Day – and there’s a game too.

When my Dad would take us to a game – Yanks or Mets – bobble heads were at the concession stands with all the other team paraphernalia – pennants, caps, little bats, player cards and photos (what ever happened to my photo of  Mantle and Maris). Seemed like there were 100 items to peruse. Including bobble heads.

(Note: One of the greatest give-a-way days was the Yanks’ Bat Day. Thousands of young fans received an actual bat as they entered the Stadium. In the 5th inning all the kids were asked to hold their up. What a site. Today, of course, the carnage would be unimaginable.)     

The little bobble guy was posed with either a glove or bat. And he had a great big smile that said “it’s great to be a Yank or Yankees fan.” OK, he was goofy looking, kind of like a Bob’s Big Boy hamburger stand statue. But he wasn’t as goofy looking as Mr Met.

I quickly learned the Mets had their own bobble head. And their guy had the same face. He was just as happy as the Yanks’ bobble head. How could that be? He was with the Mets for God’s sakes.

Then Dad took us to the Polo Grounds for an AFL football game between the (LA?) Chargers and New York Titans. And there were bobble heads at the Titans concession stands. I know because I bought one. And it was the same guy’s face. He got around. Only this time he was a Charger – white helmet with yellow lightning bolts and the powder blue jerseys. Classic.

Good luck finding and buying original bobble heads issued before 1980. I thought I would buy one for the couple who clean our house. She collects angels. He’s a big baseball fan. I thought I would try to buy a ’61 LA Angels head. Right to Ebay. Suddenly I was bidding with others. When it got to $50 I pondered just how clean the place had been. I checked one last month. The asking price was $250.

No wonder there is trafficking in the little cherubs.  Two years ago Andrew and I took his buddy Matthew to Miller Park. I forgot it was a Bobble head day. With an extra seat we had an extra head. I told Matthew he could give the extra to his brother. On the way from Miller to the parking lots Matthew had numerous opportunities to sell his brother’s bobble head. And, he did. It was a 3-way transaction. Matthew got a cool $10. The fence got his. And I learned something about Andrew’s friends.

Of course, there are bobble heads and there are bobble heads. In just one season we got Hank Aaron, Robin Yount, Jeff Suppan, and Bernie the Brewer. The Suppan, of course, is worthless.

And there are hockey players bobbles, indoor soccer players bobbles, all sports bobbles. There’s Betty Boop. I’m sure there are bobble heads for every President from JFK to today.

But the value of a bobble head comes from the memories, not the figurine.


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