In the THRILLING conclusion, we take a look at the American League bobbleheads that are nowhere to be found.
If you missed the first installment of the bobbleheads that should happen, you aren't alone! But I promised a second installment of history-related wonkery, and by gum, here it is. Here are the best/most iconic players without a bobblehead for their corresponding American League team.
Do you know who is the all-time leader in WAR among position players for the Angels? I'll give you a second.
No, not really. Not until May or so. The real leader is Jim Fregosi, who played 11 fantastic seasons with the Angels before he was traded for Nolan Ryan, the second-best pitcher in Angels history. If you're going to make a bobblehead, make one of that deal. Have Fregosi literally passing a torch to Ryan, or maybe walking in the other direction with a bobblesuitcase. Now that's a bobblehead, and it will also remind people just how good Fregosi was.
Or a Mike Trout bobblehead. Which might -- just might -- be coming soon.
For having a legacy of the most underrated players in history (thanks, Astrodome!), the Astros have done a good job getting those guys their bobbleheads. Jimmy Wynn's had one, as has Jose Cruz. Mike Scott had one, albeit without a patch of sandpaper like I would have preferred, and of course J.R. Richard got the honor.
But there isn't a Cesar Cedeño bobblehead, and Cedeño is just about the closest thing to Mike Trout that baseball saw for a few decades. It would be a tricky subject -- if you're in the mood for a tough, sad read, here's Peter Gammons on Cedeño in 1977 -- but he's the last of the underrated Astros to not get the bobblehead treatment.
And, apropos of nothing, here is Jose Cruz in a Whataburger commercial:
You know what? Own it, Rangers. For three years, you had Alex Rodriguez, a (should-be) Hall of Famer, in his prime. He was worth more than eight wins in each of those seasons, leading the American League in homers every year, which put him seventh on the Rangers' all-time home run list. In three seasons. He wasn't the problem. The problem was a rotation that would often feature three or four starting pitchers with ERAs over 6.00.
So honor Rodriguez. Give him a bobblehead. Admit to the blunder. And give out the bobblehead during a Yankees/Rangers game. And if a few people act like jerks and wing the bobblehead at A-Rod, well, that would be
hilarious unfortunate, and that's certainly not the only reason I'm advocating this. No, no, no.
Alright, then do a Jim Sundberg one.
Dwayne Murphy played 10 years in Oakland, winning six gold gloves. He was a fan favorite, and he doesn't have a bobblehead. But you know who else is missing a bobblehead? Crazy George. Well, that's not exactly true. He has one.
The San Jose Giants have given him one. It's not like the A's have been shy about Crazy George in the past. Who is Crazy George, you ask? Why, here he is, representing my alma mater! See how far into that video you can make it. Bobbleheads are much quieter.
Supposedly, he invented the wave. So he's kind of history's greatest monster.
Dwayne Murphy it is, then.
There is exactly one Google result for "Alvin Davis bobblehead", and it's a a parody piece on MLB.com (!) from someone pretending to be Larry King.
If there's anything better than a 7:05 p.m. start on a summer night at Safeco Field in Seattle, I sure haven't found it. Give me the Ivar's salmon caesar with an extra-large portion of dressing, a glass of Walla Walla cab, a seat in section 128 with my vintage 1984 Orioles cushion, Cha Seung Baek on the hill, Amy Winehouse on my iPod and an Alvin Davis bobblehead by my feet and I'll sing Chris Cornell tunes at your nephew's junior-high graduation party for a Dixie cup full of pretzel nuggets and a bottle of Sunny D.
Oh, how I wish the Real Larry King wrote that. But to the larger point: Alvin Davis's nickname is, quite literally, "Mr. Mariner," yet there isn't a bobblehead. That's kind of odd for a marketing department as creative as Seattle's. Maybe it's too obvious.
Like the Astros, the Tigers have done a pretty good job. There's a Chet Lemon and a Lance Parrish, which is all I really cared about. But there isn't one for Hal Newhouser, who might be the most unheralded Hall of Fame pitcher out there. If five percent of the digital ink reserved for Jack Morris went to Newhouser instead, there would be a Newhouser bobblehead.
Instead, the only bobblehead legacy for him is the strangest page on the Internet.
If you don't see what you want above, you may want to click over to eBay and search for his name, and/or number 16, and/or for the Tigers. If you still can't find the Hal Newhouser bobble head you're looking for, you could ask in the Detroit Tigers discussion forum if anybody is selling.
/takes copious notes
/picks up the phone, dials 1-900-NEWHOUS just in case an operator is standing by
Albert Belle isn't still mad at the Indians or vice versa or anything, right? Let's check with the Ultimate Albert Belle site, which is still being updated.
August 25, 2012
Happy 46th birthday to Albert Belle today!
Whoops, wrong quote. Here you go.
(Belle has) been working with Bob DiBiasio, the Indians' senior vice president of public affairs, on an Albert Belle bobblehead night and would travel to Cleveland with his family to celebrate. DiBiasio also mentioned that Indians manager Manny Acta has talked about wanting to get Belle in a uniform in spring training to talk to the team's hitters.
So it's coming, people. And while you're at Ultimate Albert Belle, please play around with the "change theme" button on the left. It's perfect for Orioles and White Sox fans who don't want Chief Wahoo leering at them.
When I did power rankings back in the day, they would take 20 hours. And the reason they would take so long, usually, is because the Twins killed me. Absolutely killed me. There was never anything funny about the Twins. They never helped out, offering interesting tidbits to throw in or link to. The Twins are nature's Canada.
And they're doing it again. They have bobbleheads for Jim Kaat, Camilo Pascual, and Jim Perry. They have Gary Gaetti, Bob Allison, and Zoilo Versalles . The Twin Cities are bobblehead-crazed, apparently. Or, at least, one person in the Twins' promotional department is.
The best player without a bobblehead since the Twins moved from Washington is probably … lemme see … Cesar Tovar, who picked up MVP votes in five straight seasons from 1967 through 1971. He led the AL in doubles and triples in '70, and he led the AL in hits in '71. And if the Twins didn't hate him so much, maybe they'd have a bobblehead for him.
(They probably don't hate him.)
(But you wouldn't blame him for wondering.)
Meanwhile, the Royals haven't thought to have an Amos Otis bobblehead night because, I don't know, whatever. Fourteen seasons, five All-Star appearances, and three Gold Gloves, and a .478/.538/.957 line in the only World Series in which he appeared. Otis is second only to George Brett in career WAR, and all the Mets got in return for him were 322 at-bats from Joe Foy.
The Royals are probably still bitter about a) all of those ALCS losses to the Yankees, and b) the time the Royals lost to the Cowboys on Superteams. Skip to 7:45 for Otis mangling the hurdle!
There's no Ray Durham, and the only Ron Kittle bobblehead came from a minor-league affiliate. But Wilbur Wood could get the George Scott treatment -- four straight 20-win seasons, with an average 2.86 ERA and 348 (!) innings pitched in those seasons. For some reason, he came down with arm troubles after that, but I don't want to infer too much.
(Actually, Rob Neyer from the Internet told me his decline came after a comebacker to the shin. But I'll still blame the innings pitched because it fits my preconceived notion.)
Wood is from Massachusetts, and his listed nickname on Baseball Reference is "Wilbah." That is almost certainly the greatest thing ever.
I was prepared for real struggle on this one, as I figured every licensed third party in the world would be churning out Yankees bobbleheads. But lookee here:
It's the 35th anniversary of Guidry's amazing Cy Young season and the '78 Series win. You would think that someone, somewhere would be working something up for Gator. Guidry not being in the Hall of Fame is a good rebuttal to the "If they were Yankees" argument used for Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, considering that Guidry didn't get a tenth of the support that Jack Morris did, despite being much more dominant.
The Rays retired Wade Boggs's number, and Boggs actually wanted to go into the Hall wearing a Rays cap, so they don't exactly have a sense of shame when it comes to these kinds of things. In recent years, they've had a terrifying Johnny Damon bobblehead and the infamous Zim Bear that is currently behind you right now while you type away on your computer. They have Lou Piniella, Matt Joyce, and Dioner Navarro, in case you were wondering.
At that point, hell, go with Wade Boggs. Own it. Give it away at a Red Sox game to annoy them.
Mark Belanger hit .226/.286/.276 in 1975. He was worth six wins. Ten years ago, before sabermetricans became enamored of defensive contributions, Belanger was kind of a relic -- the kind of shortstop you thought you'd never see again. Instead, he's been reevaluated using the newfangled stats, and he even has a spiritual successor in Brendan Ryan.
He doesn't have a bobblehead, but he does have this, which kind of makes up for it.
Luis Tiant doesn't have an official bobblehead, but the Red Sox don't give bobbleheads away. They don't give anything away these days. They're the only team that actively avoids promotions, probably because they sell out every game, so why give anything back to those silly fans?
That's the bad news. But as David Brown pointed out last year, the Red Sox kind of filled an important bobblehead gap by accident:
With some model paint and about 20 minutes, you can get your Luis Tiant bobblehead. You just have to have a little vision and a Sergio Romo bobblehead.
Maybe a better name for this exercise would be "I grew up in the '80s, and maybe these guys weren't as good as I remember???", but when I was growing up, it seemed like the Blue Jays had the best outfield in baseball every year. George Bell in left, Lloyd Moseby in center, and Jesse Barfield in right. The three played together from 1981 to 1989, and they hit a million home runs. None of them have an official bobblehead.
Well, actually, they were okay. They all had their breakout seasons, just not at the same time, really. And as soon as the Blue Jays stopped fielding an outfield with a Bell or a Moseby or a Barfield, they won back-to-back World Series. My youthful innocence betrayed me. And I'll bet all those '88 Topps cards aren't worth $10 anymore, either. Still, a three-player bobblehead would be pretty nifty, especially if it were tacked on to an '80s Throw Back the Clock night.