People love bobbleheads. The Milwaukee Brewers were among the first teams in Major League Baseball to realize that an oversized, spring-mounted head propped atop a tiny body translated into butts in seats. For more than a decade, the Brewers have been giving away bobbleheads. Not only was the team among the first to distribute the keepsake at home games, the organization was also one of the first to give them away to all fans in attendance, and still have far more bobblehead giveaways than the vast majority of MLB ballparks. Even the most casual fans, who rarely attend games and care little for knickknacks have almost certainly backed into being handed a cardboard box with a scaled-down figurine inside during a rare trip through the Miller Park turnstiles. It’s pretty great.
Brewmeister All-Star Game (2002)
Okay, this isn’t technically an organizational-issued giveaway. It’s so bad, we have to include it anyway. We’ve taken every brewery tour in town, and we’ve never seen a character even close to resembling this wood nymph-meets-Precious-Moments-Hummel that’s generously called a bobblehead. Plus, it highlights the first (and, now, probably only) All-Star Game at Miller Park that wound up in a tie. So if you want a hideous relic to one of Wisconsin’s most embarrassing sports moments, it can be yours for the Buy-It-Now price of $79.95.
Jeffrey Hammonds (2003)
Though the three-year, $21M deal Jeffrey Hammonds signed with Milwaukee in 2001 now seems like chump change in modern sports, the under-performing outfielder being an unabashed bust crippled the then-microscopic-market Brewers payroll. After two-plus horrible seasons, Hammonds was waived two months into the final year of his deal, narrowly before this bobblehead was distributed. Due to the odd circumstance and the resulting scarcity, these have something in common with the player they honor. They’re too expensive (listed between $25 and $40!) and they don’t do shit.
Lyle Overbay (2005)
When it was given away August 13, the Brewers had to know the days of saying O! were nearly OOOver. Prince Fielder was waiting in the wings and there was an impending logjam at first base. Had this been distributed in April of 2005, we’d give it a pass. Yet as an August giveaway, all fans were given a cast of a player who wouldn’t be playing in Milwaukee six months later. If you still have this bobble, congrats, it’s semi-relevant again.
Hot Dog American flag/finish line (2006)
For the record, all Racing Sausage “bobbleheads” warrant a spot of their own. Since anthropomorphized meat doesn’t have a head, they’re more “bobblebodies” than anything else. Still, this 2006 all-fan giveaway is the doggone worst of the batch. The elaborate concept depicts Hot Dog crossing the finish line to claim a rare Sausage Race victory. Meanwhile, he’s clutching an American flag, because what says U.S.A. better than a ceramic doll made to look like a living amalgam of lips and anuses harvested from poorly treated hogs and bovines running around a semi-circle as part of a veiled promotion?
Derrick Turnbow (2006)
Who thought it was a good idea to give embattled closer Derrick Turnbow a bobblehead? Moreover, who thought it was a good idea to give said bobblehead synthetic hair? Come to think of it, who thought it was a good idea to employ Derrick Turnbow in the first place? There weren’t many good decisions being made in Milwaukee during the early aughts. These can be had for under a dollar on eBay. Maybe Turn-Blow’s flowing locks can be used as replacement hair for less shitty dolls you own.
Cecil Cooper (2006)
We have no qualms with the Brewers having a figurine made in Cooper’s image. Plus, the likeness is actually pretty damn good. What lands this otherwise awesome and well-thought giveaway on the list alongside other misfit toys is the screw-in bat. Notice how the Brewers don’t do this anymore? There’s a reason for that. At best, the bat bent (or the placement of the nut the bat is screwed into changed course) and Coop looks like he’s holding a gigantic wet noodle. More likely, either the bat broke, the screw busted off, or the nut fell out and the Milwaukee great is left looking like he’s giving a well-hung ghost the two-fisted slobber.
Bill Hall (2007)
Bill!!! [clap-clap, clap] Hall!!! [clap-clap, clap] Good!!! [clap-clap, clap] Will!!! [clap-clap, clap]
Barrel Man (2008)
In illustrated form, the Brewers classic Barrel Man logo is nothing short of awesome. However, that great mascot didn’t quite translate into the three-dimensional format. The originally stocky slugger appears to be too thin and pasty, the barrel is worn too high, and the bat he wields is exceptionally wide and rounded at the end. In the end, it looks faintly like a dildo with legs wearing an ill-fitting cock ring, and holding a butt plug.
Jeff Suppan (2009)
By mid-2007, it was already apparent that a Soup bobble was a bad idea. The overpaid, under-performing hurler was widely despised amongst fans, but between the money spent to get him and the lack veterans that would be better to honor in plaster, the Brewers made it anyway. People were literally leaving these in the parking lot after the game…or worse.
Doug Melvin (2009)
We don’t dispute Doug Melvin—“The Man, The Myth, The Mustache”—getting the bobblehead treatment. Really, the likeness isn’t too shabby, either. Where we get lost is how the longtime Brewers general manager is depicted. Fans don’t want to see Mr. Melvin adorned in khakis and an ill-fitting polo shirt, with a flip-phone plastered against his ear. He should be sitting at a gate outside a one-way flight from Cleveland to Milwaukee, proudly holding a sign labeled “CC Sabathia” as Matt LaPorta sits in the background, awaiting his flight to Ohio, where his career will soon evaporate.
Miller Lite bottle (2010)
Basically, a gigantic and mobile Miller Lite bottle is, like, a beer vendor or something. Weirder yet, he sells and distributes miniature bottles of his kind for people to consume. That’s pretty morbid stuff.
Bernie Brewer’s Splash Zone (2010)
Listen, we’re fully aware that corporate tie-ins are a necessary part in allowing these bobbleheads to be of the “all-fan” variety. If Ryan Braun needs to be standing atop a wedge of cheese to expand the giveaway from 10,000 to 43,000, so be it. We could care less about a Pick ’n Save logo on our free, incredibly accurate-looking Jonathan Lucroy keepsake. Still, there’s an unspoken tipping point wherein the sponsor commands too much of the giveaway’s focus and, therein, ruins it entirely. Case in point, the 2010 bobble with Bernard Brewer sliding into the Kalahari Splash Zone to tout Kalahari Resort in nearby Wisconsin Dells. Since the entire Splash Zone (in all its basic, not-at-all-cool glory) couldn’t be shown accurately, Bernie essentially stands in a trash can-like container that goes up to his knees and is shamelessly plastered with the resort’s logo. The Miller Lite bottle vendor bobble thinks this is cheesy. We know the Brewers can’t bring back Bernie’s beer chalice, but they should at least promise to never do anything like this again.