Each MLB Team's Best Bobblehead of All Time
By the time the 1970s were winding down, a craze was dying. But we're not talking about disco, and certainly not about experimental drugs.
Bobbleheads were an extremely popular trend starting in the 1960s. The trend didn't last long, though, and by the end of the '70s, they were out of style.
In 1999, however, bobbleheads made a comeback. The San Francisco Giants held Willie Mays bobblehead day on May 9th of that year, and the craze started up again. Since then, bobbleheads have made a return to prominence in all sports.
In baseball especially, major league teams and their minor league affiliates have gone all-out with the bobbleheads. These are what I feel are the best bobbleheads for each organization.
Every bobblehead is like a work of art, so my judgment is very subjective. Feel free to disagree and leave comments. But for now, here is a look at each team's greatest bobblehead.
2002 Yakima Bears/Arizona Diamondbacks Randy Johnson Bobblehead
This bobblehead perfectly captures the essence of Randy Johnson's porn star/To Catch a Predator style. The mullet is almost impeccable, and the mustache is flawless. This bobblehead was given out during the 2002 season, but it will probably go down as one of the best bobbleheads ever.
With this, Johnson's brilliant mug will always be bouncing back and forth.
2003 Atlanta Braves Hank Aaron Bobblehead
The greatest player in Braves history was immortalized in a unique way on September 19th of 2003 when his bobblehead was given out. Not only is the vintage Braves uniform awesome, but Aaron was created very well, right down to his picture-perfect swing. There have been some good bobbleheads in Atlanta's history, but this one tops them all.
2011 Baltimore Orioles Buck Showalter Bobblehead
This one was just recently given away by the O's, but I found it and it was an excellent representation of Buck Showalter. This is a rare bobblehead that actually looks like the person, and it even has Showalter's mannerisms down, with the folded elbows on the dugout railing. This is probably the biggest success for the Orioles this year.
Boston Red Sox
2008 Lowell Spinners Ted Williams Bobblehead
Man, did the Spinners hit this one out of the park. This short-season A-league affiliate of the BoSox took the greatest player in team history and immortalized him in the greatest way possible. Teddy Ballgame, a fighter pilot during World War II, is shown in a fighter jet rather than in baseball gear, but the emblematic "B" completes one of the most patriotic and awesome bobbleheads ever.
2006 Boise Hawks Billy Goat Bobblehead
So far, it seems like the minor league affiliates are blowing the major league teams out of the water. This one is an absolute classic by the Boise Hawks, another short-season A-league affiliate for the Cubs. The infamous Billy Goat is depicted in Cubs gear, and it's actually a good-looking goat. Unfortunately, the whole "reverse the curse" thing hasn't quite worked out.
Chicago White Sox
2003 Shoeless Joe Jackson Bobblehead
One of the most controversial players in baseball history was finally given a bobblehead. In 2003, the White Sox gave out 1,000 of these at a game, making them a very rare item. Shoeless Joe is shown in vintage White Sox apparel with his famous "Black Betsy" bat. If he never makes the Hall of Fame, at least Jackson has a bobblehead.
2008 Cincinnati Reds Adam Dunn Bobblehead
What on Earth...?
2009 Cleveland Indians Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn Bobblehead
What a way for the Indians to honor the most famous player (?) in team history. Charlie Sheen loved to get a crack at playing Rick Vaughn, and he really did a dope job playing the erratic pitcher. The Indians gave this gem out as part of "Major League Night" to honor the film's 20th anniversary. Fans must have been fiendish over these dolls.
2002 Colorado Rockies Larry Walker Bobblehead
This is another case of a really uncanny resemblance to the actual player. The Rockies bobblehead artists really made a masterpiece here, getting all the details down to the patented mid-30s goatee that Walker wore so well. This is just plain art.
2004 Detroit Tigers Ivan Rodriguez Bobblehead
As with the Walker bobblehead just before, this is as close to art as a bobblehead can get. The eye black, pads and facial expression on Pudge are perfect. You can almost imagine yourself as a pitcher getting barked at by Rodriguez. He is holding his mask by his side, and even has a No. 7 wristband. This is good work.
2008 Florida Marlins Jeff Conine Bobblehead
Not to bash the guy or anything, but what did Jeff Conine do to deserve a bobblehead? Sure, he won two World Series with the Marlins, but where is Craig Counsell's bobblehead? What about Antonio Alfonseca? Regardless, this is a very nice representation of Conine, and the folks at Walgreens were very generous for sponsoring this bobblehead.
2007 Houston Astros Carlos Lee Bobblehead
Yes, this is Carlos Lee on a horse.
Astros: 1, Everyone Else: 0
Kansas City Royals
2006 High Desert Mavericks George Brett Bobblehead
Honestly, no Royals bobbleheads blew me away, but this one seemed to be the best of the bunch. The Mavericks, a Single-A affiliate of the Royals, gave out this George Brett bobblehead in '06. It's a nice-looking one, with the vintage Royals uniform and a nice job on Brett's face. The only thing missing is some pine tar.
Los Angeles Angels
2002 LA Angels Rod Carew Bobblehead
This is an awesome bobblehead. Not only is Carew's batting stance depicted very well, but they've got the hair, the old helmet and the patented smile with great detail. The Angels loved their Carew, and what better way to show that love with a superior bobblehead like this? Now, the Carew mini-fro can live forever.
Los Angeles Dodgers
2011 LA Dodgers Andre Ethier Bobblehead
This one will be given out to some lucky fans at the Dodgers game on July 7th. It features a very accurate representation of Andre Ethier dressed in Brooklyn Dodgers gear. It is sure to be a big hit among fans for both of those reasons. They've even got Ethier's facial hair down to the last follicle. Again, a very high-quality bobblehead.
2008 Milwaukee Brewers Polish Sausage Bobblehead
Yes. Yes. Yes.
2002 Minnesota Twins Doug Mientkiewicz Bobblehead
I know this is supposed to be the best bobbleheads, and clearly this is not one of them, but I just couldn't pass it up. This has got to be one of the most awkward-looking bobbleheads in history. Mientkiewicz looks more like a spawn of Alien than a baseball player. That's most certainly not chewing gum in his mouth. Holy cow.
New York Mets
2002 New York Mets Mike Piazza Bobblehead
Only kids 14 and under got this one, but man, did they get a good one. This is about as accurate a face I've seen. It almost concerns me to see Piazza's facial hair so accurate. You have to wonder what creep spent time studying his face to get that goatee absolutely flawless. But regardless, it's a great job.
New York Yankees
2003 New York Yankees Roger Clemens Bobblehead
I had to do this, especially right after Piazza. But seriously, this is a great one with an excellent job again with the facial hair. Do you think there's some New York-area artist who specializes in goatees? This bobblehead was created to honor Clemens' 300th win, and Rocket should be very happy with this. It's a really excellent piece of work.
2011 Oakland Athletics MC Hammer Bobblehead
July 17th, 2011. Can't touch this.
2008 Reading Phillies Crazy Hot Dog Vendor Bobblehead
Dear Phillies fans,
Can anyone explain this to me?
Amazed and Confused
2002 Pittsburgh Pirates Willie Stargell Bobblehead
This bobblehead just screams, "Awesome!" Perhaps the coolest and most admired player in Pirates history, Stargell is dressed in the coolest uniform in team history with the coolest hat in the history of the sport. And it's a pretty darn good representation of the guy to boot. The Pirates haven't had a whole lot of success on the field the last 20 years, but man, this is good.
San Diego Padres
2003 San Diego Padres Dave Winfield Bobblehead
This was a close one between Winfield and the San Diego Chicken, but ultimately, the Wave gets the nod. This is just a flat-out ridiculous bobblehead. Not only is the Padres' old-school uniform recreated to perfection, but all of the best elements of Winfield—from the sideburns to the million-dollar smile—are depicted to perfection. And with Qualcomm Stadium below him, this is the ultimate bobblehead for the Padres aficionado.
San Francisco Giants
2010 San Francisco Giants Pablo Sandoval Bobblehead
Question: How cool is this bobblehead?
A) Not cool
C) HOLY #%$@ THAT'S COOL!!!
Hint: It's C.
2001 Seattle Mariners Ichiro Suzuki Bobblehead
This was the bobblehead of bobbleheads back in the day. The original Ichiro bobblehead was a very hot item when he first joined the league, and can be a pretty valuable collector's item now. This is an excellent one, with Ichiro very well represented in this work of art. From the early-2000s M's uniform to the very accurate face, this is a classic bobblehead.
St. Louis Cardinals
2009 St. Louis Cardinals Ozzie Smith Bobblehead
The Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved players in Cardinals history, and he made a name for himself getting down and dirty at shortstop. So what better way to immortalize him than showing him making a diving stop? There he is in all his glory, fully extended in retro Cardinals colors, ready to have his head bobbled. Good work by the great baseball minds of St. Louis.
Tampa Bay Rays
2006 Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays Joe Magrane/Dewayne Staats Bobblehead
The Rays have not had a ton of bobbleheads in their day, but this one is pretty darn good. Any fan of the Rays knows that Staats has been there since day one, and his voice is one that will forever be associated with the boys of the bay. Along with original color man Joe Magrane, this broadcasting duo was about the best part of the old Devil Rays, and will live forever in this bobblehead.
2005 Texas Rangers Francisco Cordero Bobblehead
Cordero's bobblehead isn't exactly a showstopper, but it's just about the best one the Rangers have done. The best part might be his hair, which is very difficult to recreate on a small doll. But the artist did it, and Cordero actually looks pretty good here. The uniform looks awesome, and it never huts to have the Texas state flag on the base.
Toronto Blue Jays
2002 Medicine Hat Blue Jays David Wells Bobblehead
The former rookie-league affiliate of the Jays, Medicine Hat came out with this beauty in 2002. This is just plain perfect. Not only is Wells' face spot on, but his mannerisms are pretty darn good as well. Doesn't he just look thrilled to be on the mound? Had a couple, David?
2007 Washington Nationals Presidential Bobbleheads
This was a set of bobbleheads distributed in 2007 by the Nationals. My thoughts?