Simply Baseball Notebook: Cover Stories

Bobblehead Mania!

Summer 2001


The bobblehead craze that has swept America actually started with the Minnesota Twins. During the 2000 season the team gave away four bobbleheads - Harmon Killebrew, Kent Hrbek, Tony Oliva, & Kirby Puckett. The team was surprised when fans lined up hours before the gates opened hoping to receive one of 5,000 Killebrew dolls last spring. They were even more surprised at the huge interest generated nation-wide. After giving away another 5,000 Hrbek dolls later that season, the team decided to give away 10,000 Oliva & Puckett dolls in attempt to meet the tremendous demand. The craze spread across the nation - fans came from all over the country, some camping overnite, to get one of the coveted dolls.

What started out as an innocent promotion to boost the teams' poor attendence turned into a cash generating machine for collectors & dealers. Dolls were spotted all over internet auctions going often going for hundreds of dollars. Soon other teams began to give out their own dolls, then other sports NFL, NBA, NHL, & even WNBA got in on bobblehead mania.

The decision to continue the bobblehead line for the 2001 season was an easy one for the Minnesota Twins. The team announced it would give out four more dolls during the season - Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew, Dave Winfield, & a Hall of Fame edition Kirby Puckett doll. The team gave out 10,000 Blyleven, Carew, & Winfield dolls & 15,000 of the ever-popular Puckett dolls. Simplybaseballnotebook.com was there on Saturday, August 18, the night before the Puckett giveaway, & spoke to a few fans that had decided to stay the night in hopes of getting a Kirby doll.

The scence outside the Metrodome was festive & somewhat amazing. A tent community had formed, wrapping itself around the entire structure. It turned the middle of downtown Minneapolis into an urban camp grounds. Hundreds of fans gathered - the mood was festive - families were there playing board games, teenagers were playing catch, mini football games broke out, & adults were chatting & enjoying some refreshments.

Here is a sampling of the people that took in the full bobblehead expierence:

Linda & Janelle made the trip from a small town near Aberdeen, SD to get a Kirby doll for Linda's son. Her son has collected the entire set up to this point & it just wouldn't be complete without the Kirby Puckett Hall of Fame edition bobblehead that has been the most sought after to this point.

John Ahrndt, Tom Anderson, & Mike Berrueau of Benson, MN showed they were still kids at heart, making the trip to pick up their Kirby doll. They passed the time by talking baseball, exchanging stories, & having a few ice cold adult beverages.

Robby Steiner, John Streroka, & a friend - all sophmores in college made the journey from a small Minnesota town near Fairfax. The planned to stay up all night with the aide of Mountain Dew, a hand-held football video game, & eachothers' company.

The VanVickles of Minneapolis, including 7 year old Ashley, dined on some fried chicken & planned to use a bench in hopes of getting some rest.

Ron, Mickie, & Vickie of Eagan, Hopkins, & Minnetonka, MN respectively used caffine pills to lift their spirits & keep them awake & alert. Ron is an '01 graduate of Burnsville & Vickie was making her first trip to a Twins game since '92 when Kirby was still playing.

On Sunday, August 19, at about 11am the Metrodome gates opened & fans rushed in the get their bobbleheads - many of the first 15,000 fans that were fortunate enough to get their Hall of Fame Kirby Doll clutched their prize with white knuckles. Many other fans, most of witch came earlier in the morning, left dejected with their heads held down. How long will this fanscination last? Is it just a fad? Only time will anwers those questions. We do know that a second season of bobbleheads has ended & all indications point to another in 2002.

-David Zingler


Simply Baseball Notebook