From Start Tribune –
Twins great Harmon Killebrew, to his knowledge, never before had a doll made in his likeness. So he was a little surprised to see his head atop a Twins promotional bobblehead doll.
“Well, they have it with the big nose, like mine,” said Killebrew, who has seen a picture of his model. “And my head does bob like that. I’m looking forward to seeing it for myself. It will be fun to give them to my grandkids.”
The Twins tonight will hand out Killebrew bobblehead dolls to the first 5,000 fans attending the interleague game against the Milwaukee Brewers. It will be the first of four bobblehead Twins giveaways. Dolls featuring Kent Hrbek (June 17), Tony Oliva (July 21) and Kirby Puckett (Aug. 13) will follow.
Dave St. Peter, the Twins senior vice president of business affairs, said the Twins have received more phone calls on the bobbleheads than any previous promotion.
“The only thing that rivals it is Beanie Babies [given out each of the past two years], in terms of interest from the collectibles market and collectors,” St. Peter said.
Bobblehead dolls have existed in various forms since the 1960s. Most early models consisted of the same, smiling, cherubic face. Later models, such as the ones the Twins are giving away, attempt to actually resemble the subject.
The statue in the past decade has started to bobble its way back into the collectible market. ESPN once made the dolls the centerpiece of its playoff promotions. The network had a doll for every team and, in one bit, smashed several to bits as they were eliminated from contention.
If you’re a hip, bobblehead doll aficionado, the shorthand term for the statue is `nodder.’ They’re also known as bobbing-head dolls.
About all you can really do with a bobblehead is flick it upside the head and watch it wobble around. But that’s what makes it unique, said Dave Mona, who owns a local Field of Dreams franchise collectible store.
“There’s that motion,” Mona said. “They’re not static. Most collectibles are motionless. Parents like them and will give them to their children.”
A handful of major league teams have bobblehead doll promotions scheduled this season. The Twins have been the most aggressive, scheduling four giveaways of 5,000 dolls each. The idea was hatched almost a year ago, when Twins director of marketing Patrick Klinger and others brainstormed for giveaways for last season’s fan appreciation day.
Several prototypes were spread out on a table, including a bobblehead of Willie Mays. Twins marketing employees took an immediate liking to the doll.
The Twins opted for a different giveway for last season’s fan appreciation because getting the dolls ready in time would have been difficult. But they became the cornerstone of the Twins promotion schedule for 2000.
“This is our 40th season,” Klinger said, “and we were interested in bringing back some classic promotions that haven’t been done in a while. We decided to dust this one off and bring it back.”
Clyde Doepner of St. Paul has a collection of 26 bobbing-head dolls (he calls them bobbing-head) and pointed out that the older models would break down easily, saying the heads would chip or crack because they weren’t made to take the pounding children inflict on them.
The ones the Twins are giving out, however, are sturdier than anything Doepner has seen.
“They are as fine as anything made on the market today,” Doepner said. “It’s incredible that they did something with this kind of quality.”
Doepner is one of a few people who have seen advanced sets of the bobblehead dolls. Mona doesn’t sell the dolls at his store, but he predicted that, on the collectibles market, each would go for “in excess of $100.”
Because of the early praise, the Twins are anticipating a big early turnout for tonight’s game, as fans line up to get in on the giveaway.
“This is reminiscent of my days at Ticketmaster,” Klinger said. “The night before an Elton John or Jimmy Buffett concert, I would get calls from people I’ve hadn’t heard from for a long time, wanting to get tickets. The same thing is happening here.”
Puckett, Oliva and Hrbek recently got together to do voice-overs for commercials promoting the giveaways. Oliva struggled to finish his segment, as Puckett and Hrbek ribbed him throughout.
The former players have approved of their likenesses – to an extent.
“Hrbek looked at his and said, `Mine’s not fat enough,’ ” St. Peter said.