Bobble heads. Bobbleheads. Nodders. In the last few years, the scene has exploded. Many people are now collecting (or selling) SGA’s (stadium give away) at a very rapid pace. The prices that some pay for the new stuff is rising everyday, Facebook and Ebay have connected collectors across the country. There are several trade forums Bobblehead Addicts, Chicago Bobblehead Collectors on Facebook and even an old school message board – The Bobble Board. There are tons of other trade forums, but these are ones that I have used. Lotta new blood out there, so make sure you measure your risk before trading. On Addicts, they have a G2G list that shows people who have completed successful trades with one another. A great, but not fail safe, way to make sure you are trading with a good guy. I like to do IP (in person) trades, and have done a few. Good times. I have met a bunch of great people in the scene, a few duds, but mostly a bunch of passionate fans of the nodder.
I started to get serious in collecting about 2012, when I first moved to the city. But even before that I always had bobbles displayed on my office desk that would nod when I used the printer. I started buying off Ebay, tried to keep each purchase under $25 with shipping, and bought most of my collection this way. I also just happened to live next door to a guy who had one of the most complete White Sox SGA collections in the state too. So any questions that I had he usually had an answer for me. He let me know what was valuable and rare, a great resource in the scene. In the past few year my buying has slowed (my trading / selling has increased) as I am down to the last few White Sox team issued bobbles available. I stick with just team released bobbles, with a few retail bobbles added in. I’d rather not drive myself nuts looking for a 2003 All-Star Edition Magglio Ordonez with a gold base.
I used to collect the McFarlane / Spawn collectible figures. Starting with Bob and Doug McKenzie from the movie Strange Brew. I usually bought them on clearance for a great price. Years later I sold many of them for a really nice profit, which really set in the hooks for this addiction. My toy collecting days ended in 2008 when I left my job to strike out on my own. I have a stockpile of collectable toys that sooner than later will end up on Ebay. I was given two White Sox bobbles back in the day, Paul Konerko and Hawk and DJ. When I moved to Bridgeport, it just made sense that I would start to collect White Sox bobbles. In 2012, I just happened to be gone for about every bobblehead game. It really stunk. To prevent that in following seasons, I shot off an email to my wife with dates that I am “busy”. Since 2012, I have been pretty active in the bobble game and the Sox role in it. I have noticed two things: 1) White Sox fans are very passionate about their bobbles and 2) The White Sox do very little to capitalize on this. Here are just a few thoughts from me.
There are a few teams that release a TON of bobbles year in and year out. SF Giants, LA Dodgers, AZ D-Backs and MKE Brewers. Most of these teams have an “all-fan” release which means if you have a ticket you will get the bobble. The SF Giants bobble game is very, very strong. They make a bobble of just about anyone, twice. They for sure capitalize on their rabid fan base and I would have to give it up to the collectors of this team cause that is some serious work to keep on top of their releases. This year for their Star Wars day, they are releasing this. Are you kidding me? Wookie of the Year? Brilliant! For a special event the Brewers are releasing a talking Harry Doyle bobble. Don’t know who Harry Doyle is? Just know this, he’ll keep your Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn and Jake “Bobble Knees” Taylor bobbles company along with Jobu. I just hold out hope that we Sox fans might get a Jack Parkman bobble. I have mixed emotions on special releases, the Sox seem to have one a year, usually associated with SoxFest. They have done Joe Crede (2012), Greg Luzinski (2013) and Jose Abreu (2015). Last year (2014) they sold a Paul Konerko farewell bobble which included a card to certify it as one of five thousand. But what can the Sox do better?
For as long as I can remember (which would be 2010, ha) the Sox seem to run their promotions on weekends. That makes sense, people can get their easier, maximum exposure for the sponsor and more than likely they will have a pretty big crowd. I was at the Frank Thomas jersey/number retirement game, it was also Frank Thomas bobblehead game. They also were playing the Yankees. To me, any of those things alone would draw a big crowd (Number Retirement / Bobblehead / Yankees), so why have them all on the same day in August? Just was nuts to me. I thought a promotion was to GET people to the game.
There needs to be a driving force in May to get people at a game. Why not have a bobblehead release that month? Bobbleheads are that much of a draw that it will make a significant difference. Afraid that it won’t draw the 20k? Do the release over a 3 game weekend / weekday series. I lived in CA for 7 years, went to a bunch of Angel vs Sox games. They give away EVERYTHING there. Wrestling Masks, Snuggies, Rally Monkey CHIA PET! Most of these games were against the White Sox, because unlike the blue boys up north, Sox fans don’t travel well. Twins fans don’t wanna travel in May, you gotta go for the LOCALS. How do you get a local? GIVE them something! Free T-Shirt Monday is a great idea that seems to work. I head over, $7 for a ticket and a shirt? Sign me up. The last Monday game I went to, I bought a ticket in the K Zone for Sale for $20. I got 2 shirts and a ticket for $20.
If you look at The Chicago White Sox Bobblehead Resource you can tell that the Sox have given out bobbles very sporadically. They gave out ZERO (0) bobbleheads in 2005 and 2006. Really? They gave out other promotions, just no bobbleheads. In more recent years, it seems they stick with 3 or 4. One usually being a special release. That is pretty awesome in my book, but the Sox need to change up who they give out. Harold Baines has two bobbles. Paul Konerko has 3. Frank Thomas has 3. It’d be nice to have a few different guys up in the mix. So let’s add in some new talent. Abreu was the SoxFest release, which I love as a collector, but why give up a huge day like that for the season release? For me they could have done a AL ROY bobble for SoxFest, and a regular release for the season. Many teams do variants, which would be great too, but you’d have to up the 20k giveaways to 30k.
UPDATE – I have been writing this blog for over a month. In that time the Sox have had two give aways. The first was for the Paul Konerko Replica Statue. Holy lord, the lines were NUTS. The pic was from Gate 5, so many people. The resale on the statue was very good. The next give away was on the 4th of July. Bobby Jenks bobblehead. No lines. Hardly anyone at the game. The Friday game had a huge crowd. Was disappointed in the crowd and the reaction to the bobblehead. As I said above, I think the holiday was enough to bring people out, but being a day game hurt the Sox, big time. Add in fireworks, that game is bigger and more well attended. Hope the final two bobblehead giveaways do better for the Sox. I like them, will be a welcome addition to my collection.
Thanks for reading folks and Go Sox!