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The 1999 Willie Mays Bobblehead Giveaway, Was The First Sports Venue Bobblehead Event

Each year on January 7th, National Bobblehead Day recognizes a day of celebration for all spring-connected head bobbing figurines.

  • For over 100 years, bobbleheads have been entertaining and fascinating fans and collectors.
  • Early bobbleheads, known as bobbers or nodders, developed from Germany. They took root in the United States pop culture in the 1950s and 60s.
  • A ‘bobblehead’ is also called a ‘bobbing head’, ‘wobbler’, ‘nodder’, ‘nodding doll’ and ‘nodding head’.
  • Bobbleheads resurged in the late 1990s when professional sports teams began using them as promotional items. Today, as both toys and collectibles, bobbleheads continue to amuse and captivate us.
  • The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum submitted National Bobblehead Day in December 2014. On November 18, 2014, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum was announced.  The museum opened in 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and houses the world’s largest collection of bobbleheads.
  • Bobbleheads are believed to have originated in China, and they first arrived in Europe around the 1760s; while a depiction of two Chinese ones can be seen in the background of the 1765 painting Queen Charlotte in Her Dressing Room by Johann Zoffany.
  • Created in China in the early 1800s, a pair of bobbleheads resembling a husband and wife sold at an auction in 2010 for $35,925, according to the Bobblehead Hall of Fame.
  • While replicas have been made, the original 1964 set of Beatles bobbleheads are selling for up to $800 on the internet. This was one of the first sets of bobbleheads modeled after humans that weren’t athletes, and the fact that Beatlemaniacs would purchase anything related to their four favorite guys made them an instant hit.
  • There have been over 300 bobblehead promotions nationwide, but almost a third of them have been done by the San Francisco Giants. They’ve done more than 75.
  • When did bobbleheads as we know them today become a sports phenomenon? As it turns out, a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Candlestick Park in May 1999, when the San Francisco Giants gave away Willie Mays bobbleheads, is generally recognized as the first bobblehead event at any American sporting venue.
  • As of April 2016, the largest bobblehead officially recognised by the Guinness World Records was 4.69 metres (15.4 feet) in height, and it was a depiction of a St Bernard dog; the mascot of the Applied Underwriters insurance company, in the United States’ Orlando.
  • One of two surviving Bobbleheads representing the 1961-1962 New York Yankees sold for almost $60,000 in 2015.
  • In 2014, Major League Baseball gave away almost a million Bobbleheads! Bobbleheads are almost as synonymous with Baseball as peanuts and Cracker Jacks. In 2014, 0.99 Million Bobbleheads found their way into the homes of Baseball fans as promotional gifts by the MLB.
  • Chris Bukowski instantly melted the hearts of viewers everywhere when he presented Emily Maynard with custom-made bobbleheads made in the pair’s likeness in the first episode of the Bachelorette Season 8
  • Bobbleheads were thrust into controversy when Robert Blaha, a Colorado candidate for US Senate, reportedly spent $1,137 on Bobblehead replicas of other pertinent politicians. Not only did he use them his commercial, he took them on the road as he hit the campaign trail!


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