Henry’s Random Thoughts


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2002-The Best Year Ever!




There have been many good bobbles since 2002, but nothing will ever come close to the choice of players that year or the buzz they created. For the first time, they created a shortage and the inevitable mad scramble and conflict that go with such a shortage. This year put bobbles on the map in Cincinnati.


Johnny Bench


Saturday, May 31 was the first attempt by the team at giving away an all-time great. With a ban on any Pete Rose memorabilia, they chose the player that rivals Pete in this town, two-time MVP and Hall of Famer Johnny Bench. They stuck to the 10,000 quantity, and the fans were hip to the fact that only ¼ the capacity of the stadium would walk out with the goods. They showed up in droves before the gates opened.




For whatever reason, the 10,000 vanished before even some of the early arrivers could get one. Perhaps some employees held some back for friends. Perhaps not knowing how strong demand would be, they allowed those at the front of the line to get several at a time for multiple tickets. Perhaps there were just more than 10,000 people down there. Whatever happened, people got very upset, fights broke out, and it was a major local news story and topic of call-in radio shows for a week. I believe that over the long haul, this will be the most valuable Reds SGA, due to difficulty in obtaining it and the player depicted.




A retail version of this one exists, and it comes in the same box as the SGA. The retail version does not have the Pepsi logo on the base. It was sold through Johnny Bench’s own website.


Chris Sabo


They stuck with the 10,000 quantity for this June 14 giveaway, since it was only two weeks after the Bench giveaway and there was nothing else they can do. Demand was somewhat less than the Bench one, since Sabo was a good player but not a HOFer. Sabo’s distinctive goggles are the major feature of this one. It is not exactly easy to come by, nor was the Eric Davis one given out five weeks later.


sabo      sabob


Eric Davis


Another one given away in a quantity of 10,000. They got some details right, like the gold chains and the wristbands. One major thing was incorrect. Davis was not and is not anywhere near that fat. I don’t expect a perfect likeness, but Eric’s bobble is fat even by bobblehead standards. Did they have a bunch of bodies from a Cecil Fielder giveaway that got cancelled? That just proves that while bobbles are fun, if you want to know what these guys really looked like, hang onto your baseball cards. This one had Dr. Pepper as the sponsor on the base, even though the box showed a Pepsi logo.


davis      davisb


Adam Dunn


The Reds and Pepsi finally realized the value of the promotion and loosened up on the quantities, issuing 20,000 of youngster Adam Dunn on August 10. Dunn was an excellent choice, since in spite of striking out a lot, he’s been the Reds’ most productive hitter over the ensuing years. Dunn was wearing an up-to-date uniform in this one, with a patch for the final season at Riverfront/Cinergy.


dunn      dunnb


Pete Rose


This one was not an official Reds event. But since the Reds had abandoned Cinergy Field at the end of the season, the county was free to stage an event involving the banned Rose a few days later. They passed out 40,000 bobbles, meaning that essentially every ticket holder was guaranteed one. The event was a celebrity softball game involving many of the old Big Red Machine players. Tickets were not exactly cheap, and the concept was kind of lame, but fans sold the place out in appreciation of everything Pete accomplished on the field. After all, he never got a good send-off from the Reds.




There were a lot of these on the secondary market, since so many were given out, and a lot were given out to ticket scalpers who had unsold tickets and were desperate to get something in return for them. But Pete’s popularity keeps these getting decent prices even today. A retail version exists without the “Farewell to Cinergy” inscription on the back of the base. Pete also sold a handful of ones identical to the giveaway on his website. He asked a lot of money for those, so this sale did not affect the value and probably came from leftovers from the stadium, not a new “batch.”


Notice the lack of a Reds logo due to the ban.





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