January 28, 2010

The Decade in Bobbleheads: 2001

PITTSBURGH, Pa. / January 28, 2010

Continuing "The Decade in Bobbleheads" we look at the Pirates' first year at PNC Park. The bobblehead craze was still in its early days in 2001, but it was clearly gaining momentum. Led by the Cleveland Indians who honored seven players, Major League Baseball teams gave away more bobbleheads by Memorial Day 2001 than in the entire previous season. Yet the Pirates, knowing a new stadium would attract fans in droves, once again gave away only one bobblehead.

Roberto Clemente
September 8, 2001
Worthiness: A+
Execution: D-

The Pirates repeated their 2000 mistake in 2001, choosing an all time great player to honor and then dropping the ball with a poorly done bobblehead. Roberto Clemente is the best and most famous player in Pirates history and deserves a better bobblehead than this.

While Bill Mazeroski looked disgusted in his depiction, Clemente is pictured smiling. Or is he foaming at the mouth? That's a lot of white in the teeth area. And the face has no particular resemblance to Clemente at all. The shoes and uniform are better done than Maz, but the jersey lettering doesn't look that much like the Pirates' actual jerseys of the era. Finally this bobblehead depicts one of the most exciting and athletically gifted players in baseball history in a pose better suited to a batboy. I'd like to see Clemente batting, throwing or even running the bases.

33,800 fans saw the Pirates beat the Reds 3-1 that day, a good crowd until you consider that the average game drew over 30,000 that year. Apparently it wasn't until 2002 that these giveaways became a major factor in attendance.

Bobbleheads as a whole still had a long way to go, with many MLB teams using the same unimpressive supplier as the Pirates. Still, this cereal box quality piece should have been done better.


  1. Next year would be a great time to release a new Clemente bobblehead with the 40th anniversary of the 1971 title.

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