BOBBLEHEAD MVPS

The Astros are heavy hitters when it comes to bobblehead popularity

Jose Altuve's bobblehead is in high demand. Houston Astros.com

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

With the Houston Astros 2019 opener barely a month away, it's time to get down to serious business. Like, how many bobblehead giveaways will there be this season?

Answer: Nine, with a few more specials, like Star Wars and Game of Thrones-themed b'heads available for sale.

"Bobbleheads are one of the most popular gate (free) giveaways we provide for our fans," says Anita Sehgal, Astros senior vice president marketing and communications. "Many of our fans treat these as collector items and it gives us a chance to showcase a player, a special moment, or create a series of them where fans want to obtain the entire collection. Our team also has done a great job on the box art and many fans cherish the packaging as much as the bobblehead."

Sehgal did not say which players would be immortalized in ceramic and plastic this year, or what dates they'll be given away. The Astros use a few different companies to produce their bobbleheads, but most come from BDA and Success Promotions. The players do not see their bobbleheads prior to production. So far, no complaints, though.

Bobbleheads, or "Bobbing Heads" or "Nodders," have become such a part of the baseball experience that a Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum recently opened in Milwaukee. We can't snicker. Houston is home to the National Museum of Funeral History. Given a choice, I'd rather be headed to the Bobblehead Museum...than beheaded in the Funeral Museum.

I contacted Bobblehead HOF co-founder Phil Sklar and ran 10 questions by him. Of course, I wanted to know how much presence the Astros command.

Ken Hoffman: How many bobbleheads are on display in the museum?

Phil Sklar:
We have about 6,500 unique bobbleheads on display and about 10,000 in the collection. This gives us the opportunity to have several bobbleheads from each team and all different genres on display at any given time. We are also able to rotate bobbleheads in and out and change things up so that people will always find new bobbleheads when they visit.

KH: What was the first bobblehead?

PS:
Most people are surprised that the first bobblehead dates back to the 1760s in a painting of Queen Charlotte of England. We have a pretty extensive history section on our website, bobbleheadhall.com.

KH: When did bobbleheads catch fire as MLB giveaways? Which team was first to use bobbleheads as a promotion? Who was the first baseball bobblehead?

PS:
The first bobblehead giveaway was on May 9, 1999. It was a Willie Mays bobblehead by the San Francisco Giants. The marketing team wanted some very special promotions during the final season at Candlestick Park. Soon nearly every team was doing a bobblehead giveaway.

KH: What is the holy grail of bobbleheads, the most valuable and hardest to find?

PS: That would have to be an oversized New York Yankees promotional bobblehead from 1961 which sold for just under $60,000 ($59,750 to be exact) a few years ago. We've seen some sell in the $30,000 range, but nothing that high before or after. You can see the picture of that one at the history link on our website.

KH: How many Astros bobbleheads are on display?

PS:
We have about a dozen Astros bobbleheads on display right now and just switched out the full set of Houston Astros 2017 World Series Bobbleheads with the 2018 Boston Red Sox on our 'Champions Wall' that features the most recent baseball, football, basketball and hockey champions.

The Astros World Series bobbleheads are among the most popular champions bobbleheads ever because it was the team's first title. Of the ones currently on display, I really like the Nolan Ryan bobblehead from the early 2000s with the vintage Astros rainbow uniform. Other Astros bobbles include: Final Out of 2017 World Series, Alex Bregman, Charlie Morton, Yuli Gurriel, George Springer, and Jose Altuve-Carlos Correa Celebration.

KH: What about politicians, rock stars, and other bobbleheads? How do they compare with baseball bobbleheads?

PS: Popularity is a bit difficult to determine. Given the number of teams and number of games, there are far more baseball bobbleheads than any other type. However, there are bobbleheads in nearly every category, from politicians to actors, super heroes, celebrities, animals and every sport. All of those categories have some very popular bobbleheads.

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn about the long-term collectability and value of bobbleheads.

White Sox shutout Astros to split the series

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 4-0 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After a disappointing loss the night before, the Astros were back in action for game four of this series with the White Sox on Thursday night looking to take the series 3-1 with a win. Here's how the game panned out:

Final Score: White Sox 4, Astros 0

Record: 33-18, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Lucas Giolito (6-1, 2.77 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Corbin Martin (1-1, 4.97 ERA).

1) Martin with another rough start

Since his great debut on Mother's Day, Corbin Martin has not been able to repeat that success against the two teams he has faced since. After going four innings against the Red Sox last week where he allowed three runs and four walks, he struggled again on Thursday night in his start against the White Sox.

It centered around the third inning, where he allowed three runs on a couple of hits and a self-inflicted error which gave Chicago a 3-0 lead. Then, in the fourth he allowed a solo home run to make it 4-0. A.J. Hinch would go ahead and make the call to the bullpen after Martin allowed a one-out single, ending his night early in a disappointing outing.

The bullpen, however, would have a strong outing with Framber Valdez taking over for Martin in the fourth and finishing that and two other scoreless innings. Josh James rebounded from his rough outing the night before with two scoreless innings including five strikeouts, then Chris Devenski came in for a scoreless ninth.

2) Giolito dominates

Houston's offense could not crack Lucas Giolito, getting just four hits and one walk against him as Giolito would go on to throw a complete game shutout, the best start of his season. The win for Chicago made it a 2-2 series split, and the shutout also ended Houston's streak of consecutive games with a home run.

Up Next: The Astros will move on to the next series in this ten-game homestand with the first of a three-game series with the Red Sox on Friday night at 7:10 PM. It will be a rematch of Sunday afternoon's game with Wade Miley (4-2, 3.51 ERA) looking to help Houston reverse the outcome against Chris Sale (1-5, 4.31 ERA) as Boston took that game 4-3.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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