Nod if You Like Bobbleheads
Bobbleheads are mini statues of baseball players with oversized heads that move when jostled. What's not to like about them? I can think of no greater joy than admiring an interesting bobblehead. While bobbleheads have been around quite a while, it was in the early 2000s that they really took off as fan-favorite collectibles. It didn't take long for team owners to realize that bobbleheads put butts in the seats.
There are tens of thousands of bobbleheads out there. Every major sports team has bobbleized its players, and baseball has even had bobbleheads made for many minor league players. The point is, there are way too many out there to even think about collecting them for all of your favorite sports teams. A more achievable goal is to collect all of the bobbleheads of your favorite team of one sport—but even that is a tough task to manage.
Challenges of Collecting
There are four basic challenges to collecting all of the bobbleheads from your favorite team:
- Finding those issued over two decades ago.
- Having the means to purchase those bobbleheads. (If your bobbleheads are just going to sit in the closet, save yourself the time and money.)
- Having a suitable and prominent place for displaying your collection.
- Having a list of bobbleheads that were stadium giveaways.
List of Every Pittsburgh Pirates Bobblehead
If you are a Pittsburgh Pirates fan and set on collecting every bobblehead issued at the ballpark (PNC Park was the only Pirates' stadium that issued them in quantity), then you must have a list of what was available to fans throughout nearly 25 years.
It's hard to compile a list as there are scant details on the subject, but fear not, I have done the research for you, and what follows is the most definitive list of bobbleheads and figurines issued at PNC Park. You are welcome.
I know, I know, PNC Park opened in 2021. But the only player bobblehead that was ever issued in Three Rivers Stadium, PNC Park's predecessor, is one of Bill Mazeroski. It can serve as a bridge between the previous ballpark and PNC Park.
- 07/29/2000 Bill Mazeroski
This was the first bobblehead ever issued at PNC Park and the only one for 2001.
- 09/08/2001 Roberto Clemente
This was the year bobbleheads really took off, and the Pirates jumped on the bobblehead bandwagon. The lineup included the team mascot.
- 04/10/2002 Willie Stargell
- 06/26/2002 Jason Kendall
- 09/06/2002 Brian Giles
- 09/21/2002 Pokey Reese
- 09/22/2002 Pirate Parrot
For some reason, the Pirates love the Peanuts characters, and the first of several were introduced with a Charlie Brown bobblehead. It's also important to note that the Josh Gibson bobblehead was issued the same night in two different uniforms. If you want a complete set, get one of Josh in blue and one in red.
- 05/21/2003 Bob Prince talking bobblehead
- 08/16/2003 Jack Wilson
- 08/17/2003 Charlie Brown
- 08/29/2003 Josh Gibson (some in blue, some in red uniform)
- 09/29/2003 Kip Wells
This was a banner year for bobbleheads at PNC Park. In addition to several players, there was a Snoopy and two Pierogi Race characters.
- 03/08/2004 Josh Gibson
- 03/09/2004 Jack Wilson
- 03/13/2004 Manny Sanguillen
- 05/08/2004 Jalapeno Hannah
- 07/18/2004 Sauerkraut Saul
- 09/19/2004 Snoopy
Additionally, several figurines were given out. While not pure bobbleheads, they still help a collection seem more complete.
- 04/24/2004 Chuck Tanner
- 06/16/2004 Phil Garner
- 05/23/2004 Omar Moreno
- 07/24/2004 Willie Stargell
- 08/27/2004 Dave Parker
- 09/27/2004 Kent Tekulve
Fan Group Bobblehead
Really looking for a challenge? While not issued at the ballpark, a fan group called the "Left Field Loonies" gave out their own bobblehead to their members. It is hard to find, but worth it.
In addition to bobbleheads, the park gave out bronze figurines that were replicas of the three bronze statues placed outside of the park. Bill Mazeroski was made into figurine as well. His statue also now graces the stadium perimeter, but was not erected until a few years later. And yes, he got his own bronze figurine. Two additional pierogi racers also got bobbleheads.
- 04/15/2005 Jason Bay
- 04/30/2005 Honus Wagner (statue)
- 05/21/2005 Oliver Perez
- 05/22/2005 Oliver Onion
- 06/04/2005 Craig Wilson
- 06/11/2005 Bill Mazeroski (figurine)
- 07/08/2005 Willie Stargell (statue)
- 08/07/2005 Cheese Chester
- 09/17/2005 Roberto Clemente (statue)
It was a watershed year for bobbleheads as the Pirates issued a double and a triple bobblehead. That's a lot of bobbin' heads in one place. Another pierogi was immortalized, as well as Negro League great Satchel Paige. And another mascot bobblehead. There was also a double figurine.
- 04/15/2006 Jason Bay
- 05/12/2006 Zach Duke
- 05/13/2006 Jack Wilson, Jose Castillo (Double Figurine)
- 05/27/2006 Mike Gonzalez, Oliver Perez (Double)
- 06/17/2006 Bill Mazeroski
- 07/01/2006 Zach Duke, Ryan Doumit, Chris Duffy (Triple)
- 07/29/2006 Sean Casey
- 07/30/2006 Jolly Roger
- 08/11/2006 Satchel Paige
- 08/13/2006 Potato Pete
- 09/16/2006 Jack Wilson
- 09/30/2006 Freddy Sanchez
This year, in addition to players, there were bobbleheads depicting the Pirates logo persona throughout the years. There were four issued.
- 04/13/2007 Jason Bay
- 04/28/2007 Freddy Sanchez
- 05/12/2007 Ronny Paulino
- 05/19/2007 '50s–'60s Logo Man
- 06/02/2007 Adam LaRoche
- 06/16/2007 '60s–'70s–'80s Logo Man
- 06/30/2007 Bob Walk
- 07/21/2007 '80s–'90s Logo Man
- 08/03/2007 Josh Gibson
- 09/08/2007 Roberto Clemente
- 09/26/2007 '90s–'00s Logo Man
This year, many bobbleheads were given out to fans. The giveaways featured the "Pittsburgh Lumber Company" team from the '70s, back when the Pirates actually had a real team that could hit.
- 04/11/2008 Manny Sanguillen
- 04/26/2008 Tom Gorzellany
- 05/09/2008 Willie Stargell
- 05/24/2008 Matt Capps
- 06/06/2008 Richie Hebner
- 06/27/2008 Dave Parker
- 07/25/2008 Al Oliver
- 08/29/2008 Richie Zisk
- 09/12/2008 Rennie Stennett
Yet another figurine of the Honus Wagner statue was issued among the normal bobblehead giveaways. While it looks 90% similar to the previous statue figurine, this one was sponsored by Sony and has a very obvious "Sony" tag on front. Additionally, in a rare non-baseball giveaway, was a bobblehead of golfing great and local Arnold Palmer.
- 04/18/2009 Ryan Doumit
- 05/16/2009 Nate McLouth
- 06/13/2009 Honus Wagner (figurine statue/Sony version)
- 09/08/2009 Arnold Palmer
- 09/25/2009 Paul Maholm
The bobblehead craze was cooling off, and the Pirates stadium giveaways were sparse: only one figurine and one bobblehead.
- 05/22/2010 Garrett Jones (figurine)
- 08/06/2010 Andrew McCutchen
Yet another sparse year. There was one figurine and two bobbleheads, of which one was the mascot.
- 04/23/2011 Andrew McCutchen (figurine)
- 05/21/2011 Neil Walker
- 06/12/2011 Pirate Parrot
A huge bobblehead drought descended on PNC Park, with olyn one giveaway.
- 05/12/2012 Joel Hanrahan
At least this year was better than 2012. The Bucs issued only two bobbleheads.
- 04/23/2013 Andrew McCutchen
- 05/18/2013 A.J. Burnett
While not a great year for bobbleheads, three is a respectable number, and a LOT better than the two previous years. Honus Wagner is honored, AGAIN.
- 05/14/2014 Pedro Alvarez
- 06/28/2014 Andrew McCutchen
- 08/12/2014 Honus Wagner
This year baseball had an inexplicable fascination with gnomes. Really, gnomes. Two gnome figurines somehow made it into the hands of fans. Personally, I hate gnomes. Bill Mazeroski finally got his bronze statue figurine to complete the set of statues.
- 05/23/2015 Josh Harrison
- 06/27/2015 Starling Marte
- Clint Hurdle Gnome (figurine)
- Pirate Parrot Gnome (figurine)
- Mazeroski Statue (figurine)
This year saw an eclectic array of stadium giveaways: ANOTHER gnome, a mascot boobblehead and one of Charlie the Tuna. To clear that up, Starkist Tuna had their headquarters across the street from PNC Park. Starkist has since fled the Steel City.
This year also features a holy grail of Pirate bobbleheads. Francisco Liriano was slated to have a bobblehead night, but he was traded just before. Instead of just going ahead and giving the bobbleheads away like most fans wanted, they were supposedly destroyed and replaced with a fireworks show. There are a few of the Liriano bobbleheads out there. If you find one, snag it.
- 05/21/2016 Raise The Jolly Roger
- 06/23/2016 Gerrit Cole
- 08/11/2016 Jung Ho Kang
- Josh Harrison Gnome (figurine)
- Charlie Tuna
- Francisco Liriano (not issued due to trade but still produced)
Another year of weird bobbleheads. The first and only singing bobblehead was given away as well as one of former player now broadcaster Bob Walk falling out of his chair, commemorating an actual event caught on video. A newer version of Charlie Brown appeared, along with a vintage type bobblehead given only to season ticket holders.
- 04/08/2017 Francisco Cervelli
- 06/17/2017 Jordy Mercer
- 08/03/2017 Charlie Brown
- 08/19/2017 Gregory Polanco
- Bob Walk Chair
- Vintage Bobblehead (season ticket holder only)
This year marks the first appearance of several future superhero bobbleheads. The vintage bobblehead had either a black or white uniform, depending on which was handed to you.
- 05/19/2018 Pirates Vintage (black and white)
- 06/23/2018 Sean Rodriguez
- 07/14/2018 Josh Bell
- 07/29/2018 Pirates Hulk
- 08/04/2018 Andy Van Slyke
- 09/08/2018 Felipe Vazquez
Another superhero was issued and the first Pirate Star Wars themed bobblehead.
- 04/05/2019 Jameson Taillon (Star Wars)
- 06/01/2019 Chris Archer
- 07/20/2019 Vintage Bobblehead
- 09/07/2019 Pirates Spider-Man
- 09/28/2019 Steve Blass Dual Player/Broadcaster
You remember 2020, don't you? That was the half-season with no fans due to the COVID-19 hysteria. Obviously no fans received bobbleheads at the ballpark, but season ticket holders could pick up two.
There was supposed to be a Wonder Woman issued on Mother's Day, along with a cool Trevor Willams in a Star Wars storm trooper outfit. Doug Drabek finally would get his due, and a really cool Bill Mazeroski Gold Glove bobblehead. Joe Musgrove was also slated to be honored.
What happened was that season ticket holders got a vintage and a Josh Bell bobblehead. The Wonder Woman was produced and given away the following season. Mazeroski and Drabek would have to wait until 2022. Williams and Musgrove were traded before the start of the 2021 season. There are some of Williams in the Star Wars garb floating around, but very few. The two available to season ticket holders were as follows:
- Josh Bell
- Vintage '79 World Series
Pirate fans were ready for the return of bobbleheads after a more-than-weird season. In the end, only Wonder Woman was issued. It was really cool, though. It was issued on two consecutive days due to the seating restrictions from the continuing COVID-19 panic.
- 05/1-2/2021 Wonder Woman
After two years of nearly nothing, bobblehead fans were treated to a normal four bobbleheads in 2022.
- 06/18/2022 Bryan Reynolds
- 07/05/2022 Bill Mazeroski
- 08/19/2022 Pirate Parrot Mascot
- 09/2402022 Doug Drabek
The Pirates are planning on three bobblehead days in 2023. It's important to note that all are on the active roster. With the Pirates always trading away good talent for prospects, one or more of these may get cancelled due to trades.
- 06/03/2023 Oneil Cruz
- 06/10/2023 Ke'Bryan Hayes
- 07/29/2023 David Bednar
Tips for Completing Your Collection
There are several things you should know to make your bobblehead quest easier.
Look for Stadium Giveaways (SGAs)
Know that there are several bobblehead manufacturers out there. Some of them produce bobbleheads just for sport memorabilia, and they are typically of high quality and pricey. What you really want are the bobbleheads known as Stadium Giveaways (SGAs). You can always tell because there is always a plastic tag glued to the bobblehead (usually near the bottom) that has the name of the giveaway sponsor (you didn't think the Pirates paid for those, did you?).
Turn a bobblehead over and look on the bottom, and it will have the year it was issued. If you don't see a manufacturer's stamp with the date, it is probably not an SGA.
Find Bobbleheads Online
- In the Pittsburgh Area: The best place to find used bobbleheads is on Pittsburgh's Craigslist. People are always cleaning out the closet and will let them go for less than $10. Offerup and Mercuri are good apps to search for bobbleheads. Don't be afraid to haggle.
- Outside of Pittsburgh: If you live out of the Pittsburgh area, your best bet is eBay. It's my last choice. Often the shipping cost is more than the price of the bobblehead, and prices tend to be high for even the most mundane bobblehead. If you visit Pittsburgh regularly, start checking Craigslist before you come and set up some deals.
Good Luck With Your Collection!
It's a fun endeavor to get the entire collection of bobbleheads issued at PNC Park. Yes, I have EVERY one, and they are proudly displayed in a lighted showcase in my living room. Go ahead, call me a baseball geek... because it's true.