From The San Diego Union-Tribune by Kirk Kenney
When it comes to arguably the most important accolade an athlete can receive, Wil Myers gets the nod. Again and again and again.
Myers is building an impressive baseball resume. He was 2013 American League Rookie of the Year with the Tampa Bay Rays. He was National League Player of the Month in June for the Padres. And this week he played in his first All-Star Game, batting cleanup for the NL while starting at DH.
But far and away the most impressive achievement so far in Myers’ career — the North Carolina native already has more than half a dozen bobbleheads.
Myers is appearing in molded plastic form for at least the eighth time, this bobblehead as part of the Padres’ “Ghost Busters Theme Night” package (a special promotion that includes game ticket and limited-edition bobblehead) on Friday night against the Giants.
“It’s a kick,” Myers said during All-Star festivities earlier this week. “I mean, shoot, 25 years old and you’re getting your own bobblehead. Why not? It’s pretty cool.”
In addition to the Padres Ghost Buster bobblehead, Myers had three bobbleheads as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, including one for recognizing him as Rookie of the Year and another as a Rebel Pilot on “Star Wars Theme Night.”
Three other Myers bobbleheads were put out by minor league teams he played for at Single-A Wilmington, Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Durham.
And that doesn’t include when Tampa Bay put his head on a bike horn (we’ll get to that in a minute).
“That’s impressive,” said Phil Sklar, co-founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum.
Yes, there is a such place. At least there will be. It’s mostly a virtual Hall of Fame and Museum online right now. A physical site is currently being scouted in downtown Milwaukee.
“It sounds like it would be close to a record,” Sklar said of all the Myers bobbleheads. “I know (Cubs third baseman) Kris Bryant has probably a dozen now. (Angels outfielder) Mike Trout is another player who has probably had a lot produced at a young age. …
“Now more than ever a player like that would have the potential to get that type of record because the minor league teams are giving them away. A superstar like that, the minor league teams jump on that.”
The number of bobbleheads a player has should be tracked now as an official statistic by the Elias, Major League Baseball’s statistician.
If you said Wil Myers has an FOB (Face on Bobblehead) of 8 while another player has an FOB of 3, then you immediately know who is the better player. It seems much more relevant than comparing one player’s WAR with another.
With Myers’ likeness so popular in plastic does that make him a bobblehead All-Star?
“You could definitely say that,” said Sklar, who, although speaking by phone, could be pictured nodding his head fast before gradually stopping. “That puts him in good company and shows the popularity of the player when there’s that many bobbleheads made.”
Like playing in your first major league game or making your first All-Star team, Myers said he has a special fondness for his first bobblehead.
“That first one was legit,” Myers said. “The Rookie of the Year one in Tampa, that was pretty cool. I think that one was my favorite.
“It looked just like me. Had the same swing. Had the same cleats. I used to wear a band on my wrist. It was very similar to myself.”
That bobblehead was a Rays giveaway during the first month of the 2014 season. Four months later came the Wil Myers Bike Horn giveaway (for fans 14 and under).
Sports Illustrated noticed, with an item that included this: “There is only one problem: The bike horn looks like an evil demon who will eat your hand if you touch it.”
Tampa Bay removed “Devil” from its nickname before the 2008 season. Apparently, horn manufacturers didn’t get the memo.
“That one was pretty wild,” Myers said. “I can’t believe I was actually turned into a bike horn.
“But it is what it is. That’s what sells, so what can you do about it.”
Who knows, it could have led to another promotion — “Honk If You’re a Wil Myers Fan Bumper Sticker Night.”
Players sometimes are consulted about the pose or other elements of their bobblehead, although Myers said he has never been asked for input.
If he could design his own bobblehead, what might Myers recommend? Superman Wil Myers? Ping Pong-playing Wil Myers? Segway-riding Wil Myers?
“It would be Wil Myers, baseball player,” he said. “Nothing else. Nothing crazy. Just me swinging a bat, playing ball.”
Maybe next spring.