From The Sports Quotient by Jake Eisenberg
By the numbers:
- The Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals have the most giveaways scheduled this month, with three. The Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks all have two scheduled
- July 11 and July 25 are the most popular days, when four different bobbleheads will be handed out
- Two teams hand out their first bobbleheads of the season
The first bobblehead of the month, on July 1, comes from the Detroit Tigers, and it’s a fan-favorite — Yoenis Cespedes. It’s only fitting that Cespedes is shown holding a bat. While Cespedes may not start in Cincinnati (he’s fourth in A.L. OF voting), we can expect him to try and defend his Home Run Derby title for the second straight year. If he wins, it would be his third consecutive title, and third overall, tying him with Ken Griffey Jr., the only other player to win back-to-back titles, for most all-time. The only criticism for this bobblehead is that Cespedes isn’t displayed pointing his finger after a ridiculous throw.
The Washington Nationals will give away their third of five “Great Moments in Nationals History” bobbleheads on July 5 to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of their franchise. On Sunday, they’ll celebrate the electric Major League debut of Stephen Strasburg, when the former first-overall pick struck out 14 over seven innings en route to a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, the timing of the promotion is just slightly off, as Strasburg is scheduled to start on Saturday, Independence Day.
On July 6, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a throwback promotion: 1960’s All-Star Maury Wills. Wills’ middle name is Morning, and boy, did he make sure you were awake on the field and in the stands. The switch-hitting Wills led the league in steals for six consecutive seasons (1960-1965), topping out at 104 in 1962, his MVPseason. The shortstop helped the Dodgers — who had recently made the move to Los Angeles — to three World Series titles. The bobblehead shows Wills sliding into a base feet-first, a style seldom-seen unless a player is trying to break up a double play. But maybe, players should slide feet-first more often.
Carlos Santana is one of the newest fathers in the Major Leagues, after he and his wife welcomed a baby girl to the Santana family last month. On July 8, he’ll get another miniature version of himself with a bobblehead. He might be a bit tired and unfocused from the exhaustion that comes with fatherhood, as Santana is hitting just .211 with nine home runs thus far. It’s the Cleveland Indians second bobblehead giveaway of the season,
Remember when the Mets traded Marlon Byrd the same day as Marlon Byrd t-shirt night last season? Or, more closely related, when the Philadelphia Phillies gave out a Hunter Pence bobblehead a month after trading him? Well, it’s happening again, but with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will go through with their Juan Uribebobblehead night on July 11 despite trading the infielder to the Atlanta Braves about a month ago. The Dodgers even acknowledged it on their promotions page:
“We are proceeding with our Juan Uribe Bobblehead promotion on July 11th. The Dodgers have a long tradition of recognizing players who have made great contributions to the organization. Juan Uribe will hold a special place in Dodgers history for always being a fan favorite and a consummate professional. There was no better teammate to have than Juan Uribe.”
Also on July 11, the first 10,000 fans arriving at Target Field will be greeted with a Phil Hughes bobblehead. Maybe this is the Minnesota Twins’ way of rewarding Hughes for his performance last season, when he came up 1/3 of an inning shy of triggering a $500,000 bonus. Or maybe, the Twins are thanking him for setting the record for the best all-timestrikeout-to-walk ratio (11.63). In any case, Hughes will have his first not-Star Wars themed (“Hughes the Force”) Twins bobblehead.
July 11 also marks the New York Mets’ first giveaway of the season, leaving just four teams in the No-Fun club (no giveaways yet this season). The featured Amazin’ is Juan Lagares, who’s had a lackluster season thus far after a shiny, 2014 Gold Glove campaign. Lagares is shown making a leaping catch at the Citi Field wall — like many of his highlight real plays — using his Golden Glove.
The final of the four July 11 bobbleheads comes from Seattle, featuring the “Boomstick,” Nelson Cruz. As of the final All-Star game update, Cruz overtook Kendrys Morales at the top of the list for Designated Hitters, and deservedly so. Cruz is third in the American League with 19 home runs, trailing only the Angels’ Albert Pujols and Mike Trout.
A day later, on July 12, the Miami Marlins will break their season-long bobblehead silence with Henderson Alvarez. Alvarez has struggled throughout 2015, owning a 6.45 ERA and an 0-4 record in four starts. The young righthander is displayed in the old-school stance he takes for his first pitch of every game, and only the first pitch of the game.
Also on July 12, the Texas Rangers with pay homage to Michael Young, who spent 13 seasons in Arlington before finishing his career with a year each with the Dodgers and Phillies. Young collected 2,735 hits in his career as a .300 hitter, with 2,230 of them coming as a Ranger.
After Michael Young, there’s a six-day wait for the next regular-season bobblehead thanks to the All-Star break. But, not to worry! There are three special All-Star Game bobbleheads from the Cincinnati Reds to tide over the baseball world.
All three of the All-Star Game bobbleheads feature a Cincinnati Reds mascot standing on a platform of the All-Star game logo. From L-R: Mr. Red, Gapper, and Mr. Redlegs.
The first bobblehead after the All-Star break is of the Star Wars variety. It’s Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock, using a lightsaber as a bat. Pollock has had a stellar season thus far, slashing .290/.340/.455 with nine home runs and 16 stolen bases. This is the second Star Wars-themed bobblehead this season, but the edge goes to the Milwaukee Brewers and their Jonathan Lucroy bobblehead, named “Jedi Luc.”
Also on July 18, the St. Louis Cardinals have their first of two July bobblehead nights with Matt Carpenter. He is currently set to start at third base for the National League, as he leads all NL third basemen in votes as of the final update. Carpenter has already tied his 2014 home run total, and has a good chance of surpassing his 2014 totals in RBIand doubles as well.
The Milwaukee Brewers make their July appearance with a Khris Davis bobblehead on July 19. Davis, hasn’t played since May 30, when he suffered a torn meniscus. The outfielder hit .244 with 22 home runs last season.
Vanderbilt University may not have won a second straight College World Series title, but David Price still has a reason to smile. The hurler’s bobblehead day is on July 20, the Tigers’ second giveaway day of the month. Price is 7-2 this season with an even 100 strikeouts.
Arguably the best bobblehead of the month comes from none of than the Milwaukee Brewers on July 21. It’s Harry Doyle (as played by Bob Uecker) from the movie Major League. It’s a talking bobblehead, too, featuring some of the most well-known Doyle quotes from the movie:
“This guy threw at his own kid in a father-son game.”
“Personally, I think we got hosed on that call.”
“Juuuuuust a bit outside.”
While the movie featured the Cleveland Indians, much of it was filmed in Milwaukee at County Stadium. In order to get your hands on this one-of-a-kind piece of both real and fake baseball history, you’ll need to be one of the first 4,000 to purchase a special ticket to Major League night. (Unfortunately, there was no picture available for this giveaway.)
The Cardinals’ second bobblehead of the month, on July 24, is Al Hrabosky. Hrabosky, also known as “The Mad Hungarian,” or, the inspiration for Danny Espinosa’s fu-manchu, pitched in relief for St. Louis for eight seasons, leading the league in saves with 22 in 1975. The ‘75 season was a career best, as he reached career bests in innings pitched, saves, ERA and strikeouts.
The Colorado Rockies also have a bobblehead giveaway scheduled for July 24 — Charlie Blackmon. Blackmon is having a terrific 2015 season, batting .275 with ten home runs and 21 stolen bases through 75 games. What’s better? With his extraordinary beard and interesting pose, he looks more like a lumberjack than a baseball player (and there’s nothing wrong with that).
On July 25, the Diamondbacks will give away a special Randy Johnson“Hall of Fame” bobblehead, the day before Johnson is set to be officially inducted into Cooperstown as a first-ballot inductee. Johnson’s career numbers are staggering: five Cy Young awards, five seasons of 300+ strikeouts, a major-league record 10.6 K/9 rate and ONE HIT BIRD. Funny enough, the logo of the Big Unit’s photography company is (yeah, you guessed it), a dead bird. Here’s a fun video of ESPN’s John Kruk being terrified of Johnson at the 1993 All-Star game.
The second June 25 bobblehead is one of the lesser-talked about Chicago Cubs young players — Jorge Soler. Soler is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, but should be back in time for his bobblehead debut. The outfielder is batting .265 this season with four home runs.
The first 10,000 fans at Kauffman Stadium on July 25 will receive aYordano Ventura bobblehead, the fourth commemorative postseason bobblehead from the Royals. In the World Series, the young fireballer was stellar — starting Game 2 and Game 6. In Game 6, Ventura pitched seven scoreless innings, striking out four to help force Game 7. However, he has disappointed this season, posting a 4.68 ERA in 12 starts.
The final bobblehead on July 25 belongs to Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins. Dozier is vying for a spot in the All-Star game this season, and deserves it too, with 16 home runs and a league-leading 58 runs, but trails Omar Infante, much like all of the other more deserving American League second baseman.
Nolan Arenado had one of the best months in the major leagues, batting just over .300 and smacking 12 home runs en route to taking over the league lead in RBI. It’s his bobblehead night on July 26, and it features his Gold Glove from 2014. And, with the plays he’s been making, there’s a good chance he wins another one this year.
The Dodgers’ final bobblehead night falls on July 29, when it’s Yasiel Puig night at Chavez Ravine. Puig has had a troubled 2015, dealing with a hamstring injury and a ruptured callous. Puig is shown in his bobblehead making a diving catch, but it’s disappointing that the depiction isn’t some sort of bat flip or pumped-up dancing. (Yes, it’s the same video because it’s pretty awesome.)
There are two Hall of Fame bobblehead giveaways on July 31. The first is from the Cardinals. Lou Brock led the league in steals eight times during his 19-year career, swiping a career-high 118 bags in 1974. He played for the Cardinals for 16 of those seasons, winning two World Series titles.
The final bobblehead of the month, also July 31, is a commemorative Hall of Fame bobblehead for the Houston Astros’ Craig Biggio, who will be inducted along with Randy Johnson and John Smoltz on July 26. Biggio played all 20 of his seasons with the Astros, collecting over 3,000 hits and batting .281.
Stay tuned for next month, when there will be 22 more bobblehead giveaways.
Teams that still have yet to have a bobblehead giveaway: Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles.