Mariners crowds keep clamoring for beloved bobbleheads

Aug 7, 2015, 10:18 PM | Updated: 10:20 pm
Just some of the dozens of bobbleheads created for the Mariners over the years are shown in this di...
Just some of the dozens of bobbleheads created for the Mariners over the years are shown in this display at Safeco Field. (KIRO Radio/Josh Kerns)
(KIRO Radio/Josh Kerns)

As soon as the Mariners schedule comes out, it’s easy to determine which games will be the hot ticket.

Sure, there are the Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays, but it’s the littlest guys that draw the biggest crowds.

Fans line up hours before the gates open to make sure they’re among the lucky ones to get a cherished bobblehead when the M’s give them away.

Related: Favorite Mariners bobbleheads

It’s been that way since their resurgence over the last decade or two.

“The early pioneers were the Minnesota Twins and San Francisco Giants who brought back the bobbleheads as a giveaway,” said Gregg Greene, the Mariners Sr. Marketing Director.

“Fans just took to them like the three-dimensional baseball cards that you get to hold and collect,” he said.

It’s clear from the collection of bobbleheads adorning his office, Greene has a special connection with the keepsakes. He and his team are the ones who come up with the new ones every year.

Along with the Jamie Moyer Hall of Fame edition, this season’s highlights have included King Felix resplendent in his royal crown, Kyle Seager in a commemoration of last year’s gold glove, and Nelson Cruz’s boomstick bobble.

“We try to highlight a lot of our different players based on accomplishments that they had the previous year,” Greene said.

He admits it’s virtually impossible to pick a favorite from among the dozens.

“Dave Niehaus &#8212 it’s nice to see him in bobblehead form &#8212 i some of the Ichiro ones when we started to take him from the pudgy form to a more athletic pose, I’m really fond of those,” Greene said.

That evolution is evident. When the bobbleheads first came back, their bodies and heads all looked pretty much the same.

A lot of the credit for that goes to Mariners marketing partner BDA. The Woodinville company is among the biggest sports merchandise firms in the world.

Their visionary co-founder and CEO Jay Deutsch and his firm was at the forefront of the bobblehead resurgence.

Along with making bobbleheads for the Mariners, the company makes thousands of bobbleheads for all of Major League Baseball.

“So when we kind of saw this trend, we saw this opportunity, we started immediately taking it into today’s athlete,” Deutsch said.

But since then, they’ve gone far beyond. Now they’re doing things with costumes. A few have even been dressed up as Star Wars characters. They’ve even created talking bobbleheads with sound chips for some teams, although the Mariners haven’t tried one yet.

But what really captivates Deutsch is the ability to capture precious baseball moments.

“You can go back in time and create memories,” Deutsch said. “It goes back and brings fans back to remember the best of times. It’s hard to do that with a T-shirt.”

And they’re not just for the fans. Even the players clamor for their own caricature. Greene says he’ll frequently get calls from the clubhouse during bobblehead games.

“They’ll kind of sheepishly say ‘Can I get a bobblehead, can I request a few bobbleheads?’ Greene said. “I’m like, ‘Sure,’ thinking they’re going to ask for 100 or 200. ‘Yeah, it would be great if I could get six bobbleheads.’ And you’re like, ‘Yeah, I think we can help you out with that. That’s no problem.'”

Among the Mariners, King Felix leads the pack with nine different editions, including his popular alter ego Larry Bernandez. Ichiro is just behind with eight. Ken Griffey Jr. is featured on five separate models.

Planning for next year has already begun in earnest. Greene won’t disclose who might have the honor bestowed upon them. But I’ve got one idea: Rick Rizzs.

“He is as much a part of Mariners baseball as anybody in the game. I don’t know, maybe we ought to start a petition or hashtag,” Greene said.

Alright fans, here’s your chance #RizzsBobble.

Local News

(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)...
Frank Sumrall

Mayor’s search for permanent Police Chief looms over Seattle amid depleting law enforcement numbers

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell recently consulted with a hiring firm as the decision to choose the next Chief of Police heats up.
2 days ago
Seattle Sun...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Sunny skies, warm temperatures forecast for western Washington this weekend

Sunny skies and warm temperatures are forecast for much of western Washington, with some areas expected to reach temps in the 70s.
2 days ago
Student STEM...
Nicole Jennings

From athletes to mathletes: STEM Signing Day shines light on WA scholars

STEM Signing Day gives stellar science, technology, engineering, and math scholars a chance to shine in the same way as high school athletes.
2 days ago
Prison 900x506...
MyNorthwest Staff

Governor Inslee cancels parole determination for triple murderer

Governor Inslee has cancelled an order that granted parole to Timothy Pauley, who had been incarcerated for three counts of first degree murder in 1981.
2 days ago
revive I-5...
MyNorthwest Staff

Revive I-5, Montlake Bridge closure will cause traffic issues this weekend

The sunny forecast will put Seattleites in a great mood this weekend, but the traffic won't thanks to repairs to I-5 and the Montlake Bridge.
2 days ago
Police follow protesters as they move through the city during racial justice protests on November 3...
Hanna Scott

Report on 2020 protests recommends new training for SPD, debunks “mob psychology”

SPD’s approach to the 2020 protests underutilized de-escalation through dialogue and relied on indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Mariners crowds keep clamoring for beloved bobbleheads