National Bobblehead Day
On May 9, 1999 the San Francisco Giants played the San Diego Padres at CandleStick Park and beat the Padres 12 to 4. It was not an ordinary day. The game was the season opener for the 1999 baseball season. It was a bittersweet day for Giants fans. It was bitter because it would be the Giants final season at CandleStick Park. The last home games of the 20th Century would be played at CandleStick and the new millennium would begin with Giants games at a new stadium. Loyal fans were feeling very nostalgic that day. The memory of this game would be the last at the ball park many had watched games at during their childhoods. It was sweet because the elaborate opening ceremonies, including a fireworks show and confetti, were a celebration of 40 years of games at the stadium.
To celebrate 40 years at CandleStick Park, a special Willie Mayes Bobblehead was created. The Giants gave away 20,000 of the Willie Mayes bobbleheads at the May 9, 1999 game to the fans. This give away was historical as well.
Bobbleheads were first created for the major league baseball teams win the 60’s. At that time, there were no player specific bobbleheads, just the same face with different team jerseys. Initially they were souvenirs for sale at the games. The original bobbleheads were ceramic and expensive to make. they also chipped easily.
Eventually bobbleheads would be made of plastic, which made them less expensive to produce, easier to create player specific bobbleheads and they were more durable. The first 4 player specific bobbleheads were created in the 1990’s including, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente and Roger Maris. The very first free give away was the Willie Mayes Bobblehead, given at the May 9, 1999 season opener.
Today the Willie Mayes Bobblehead is a very valuable collectors item. They sell for hundreds of dollars and, those in the best condition sell for over $1,000. The original ceramic bobbles from the 1960’s are the most valuable and rare.
If you find yourself at a yard sale or estate sale, keep your eyes out for the Willie Mayes bobblehead. Hold on to your free giveaways, you never know what future value they may hold.
Happy Bobblehead Day!