Bobbleheads in Baseball

Online Exhibit

Major League Baseball has a long history with bobblehead dolls dating back to the early 1960s.

The first bobblehead dolls, made in Japan, were hand-painted papier-mâché figures. Major League Baseball commissioned bobblehead dolls for each of their current teams. Each doll looked generally the same, with large eyes and rosy cheeks – the only difference being their uniform.


The First Bobbleheads

In 1960, Major League Baseball commissioned the first bobbleheads modelled after different players:

  • Roberto Clemente
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Roger Maris
  • Willie Mays

These models were sold for the 1960 World Series.

Growth in Popularity in the 9os

Interest in bobblehead dolls decreased in the 1970s because they were so fragile. Major League Baseball did not continue designing bobbleheads for several decades. In the 1990s, bobblehead manufacturers began producing dolls made of plastic, which were more durable and cheaper to produce. Bobbleheads began to grow in popularity again at this time.

MLB Bobblehead Giveaways

The first Major League Baseball giveaway bobblehead was a Willie Mays model, given to 20,000 San Francisco Giants fans in 1999. This started a tradition in baseball with honouring players through promotional bobblehead giveaway days.

Many Canadians playing for Major League and Minor League teams have been honoured in bobblehead form.