My friend and I have been planning a trip to acquire this:

What exactly is *that*? (You may be asking yourself.)  That is the Zim Bear – a horrifying, yet awesome, Don Zimmer based giveaway at the June 29 Tampa Bay Rays game.  People keep saying to me “Oh no, you don’t really actually want that thing” and “You’re not actually going to Florida to get that, are you?”  My answer: yes and yes.  And then I’m going to try and acquire a Pedro Martinez bobblehead and put it on a shelf with the Zim Bear.  One day, I’ll enter the room and the Zim Bear will be laying on the floor and I’ll know that the Martinez bobblehead put him there.

This got me thinking – what were some of my favorite promotional items over the years?  Things that were given away at the gate upon entry that now have a place of honor in my home.  I’ve made it my quest to attend every stadium in the majors; I’m a bit more than halfway to my goal.  As a result, a couple  of these will be non-Indians related (although the majority are Indians giveaways).  I have a bias toward items I’ve actually acquired and picked some strange ones, as well as ones I’m actually proud to own.  (As much as you can be proud of a giveaway item!)  I also stuck to Major League giveaways, although I could easily do one of these in the future with minor league giveaways.  The mediocre, somewhat blurry pictures are my own!

Boone in a Box

This is absolutely brilliant…a strange-looking Aaron Boone doll popping out of a cube.  The only thing that could make it better is if it played music.  Whenever I push the little baseball button, in my head I always think (to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel) “da da da dadadadada POP goes Aaron Boone’s knee!”

Larry Parrish nesting dolls

I made one trek to Montreal before the Expos became the Nationals.  Olympic Stadium smelled like diesel fuel, had filthy seats, and only about 20 people in attendance.  However, my reward for the trip were these Larry Parrish nesting dolls that I received upon entry.  An additional reward – the Expos were playing the Braves and I got to hear a guy heckle Chipper Jones in French for the entire game.

John Adams bobblehead

John has been bringing his drum to Tribe games for nearly 40 years; it’s only fitting that he was honored with his own “bobble-arm” a few years ago.  I love this, not only because John and his drum have become a part of Indians baseball, but also because John is an extremely nice guy.  I always love to see nice things happen for nice people.

Grady Sizemore in a car

For several years during the peak of Grady’s career, the Indians would hand out a different Sizemore-themed bobblehead each year.  When they came out with “Sizemore in his classic car,” I was pretty impressed by the creativity in coming up with a unique theme each year.  Although my husband started to joke that they were running low on ideas, and the next Sizemore bobblehead would probably be Grady on a toilet.  I added, “Or standing in front of a mirror with a cell phone camera.”

Al Rosen bobblehead

There’s nothing particularly unique about the Al Rosen bobblehead, but I got it one year at Spring Training in Winter Haven.  I’ve rarely seen a promotional giveaway item at a Spring Training game, and was really excited that they selected a classic Indians player.

Tom Hamilton bobblehead

A bobblehead that you can look at *and* listen to?  Sign me up!  When you push the little button on his desk, Tom Hamilton says three classic phrases: “How about that!”  “Swung on and missed, BALLGAME!” and “Swung and belted, awaaaaay back…goooone!”  (The Ziz statuette was not a giveaway item).

Slider slippers

Who wouldn’t want to wear giant stuffed Sliders on their feet?  I remember the day that those were given away, it seemed like everyone was walking around Progressive Field wearing them.  They must have had a ton of extras, because I know they were a prize on the “prize wheel” that you can spin, and I’ve now acquired several pairs of them.  It’s hard to walk around the house in them, because my dog *really* likes to attack them.  Everywhere I go, I drag 10 pounds of Shih tzu with me since her mouth is latched onto Slider’s face.

Civil Rights game lanyard

A lanyard isn’t the most exciting giveaway item, but since these are from the first ever Civil Rights Game, I think it made for a cool keepsake.

Herb Score trophy

And last, but certainly not least, the big prize in my collection – the Herb Score trophy.  While this wasn’t a promotional item at the gate, it was a giveaway item.  At Opening Day in 2009, a few seat numbers were listed on the scoreboard each inning.  Right before the nearly 4 hour rain delay, I saw my section and seat number up on the board.  It turns out that this (extremely heavy) trophy honoring Herb Score was my prize, meaning that I can no longer say “I never win anything.”  I refer to this as my “major award.”  (I think it’s even better than a leg lamp though).

Honorable mention: Most useful giveaway item – Kansas City Royals lunch bag

I carry this thing all of the time – lunches, at the beach…it’s just perfect.  It’s the perfect size (can comfortably fit a full 6-pack), it has a nice, long strap for carrying, and it keeps the food cool.  People always ask me, “are you a Royals fan?”  Nope!  Just like the bag.  As a friend said at the time (I got this at a game at Kaufmann Stadium in 2006) “this is so good, it’s a minor league quality giveaway item.”  At the time the Royals were kind of a minor league caliber team, so it made sense!

What were some of your favorite giveaway items over the years?

5 Comments

  • Swift says:

    My Tom Hamilton bobblehead is also one of my favorites from over the years. Another one I love is the miniature Jacobs Field model they gave away, IIRC for the 10th anniversary in 2004.

    http://myfinecollectibles.com/Stadiums/jacobs_field.jpg

  • Susan Petrone says:

    My elementary school class is having its 30th reunion that night. And yes, I am willing to miss it in order to acquire the Zim Bear.

  • medfest says:

    I’ve got a San Diego Padres 2-quart Coca Cola jug I use every day for my Crystal Light Ice Tea/lemonade.
    Got it from my brother in law in the late ’80s when he was director of stadium ops at Jack Murphy. Still has all the logos and everything despite being dishwasher washed for over 20 years.Talk about a “Good item”!….(extra credit if you can identify the “Good item” reference)

    I really liked the Ricky Vaughn bobblehead ,the Bob Feller statue is nice,but the Hamilton bobblehead is a classic!
    My out of town friends are always jealous when they see and hear it.

    That Zim Bear creeps me out,though.Does it come with a removable metal plate in its skull?….Sorry.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    Swift – I missed the Jacobs Field giveaway! I have a model giveaway of Canal Park and the Captains ballpark though. Not as cool. :(

    Susan – They have elementary school reunions? And I forgot to mention, there has been some discussion of taking talents (i.e. driving) to Miami after Tampa to see that absolutely awful home run statue/monstrosity at the new Marlins park.

    medfest – I forgot about the Vaughn bobblehead!!! And I’m super impressed that your jug still has the logo on it. I have a Cedar Point cup from the year Mean Streak opened that you can still mostly see “Mean Streak.” I also laughed out loud about the metal plate, because a friend and I were wondering the same exact thing the other day!

  • medfest says:

    If you really don’t want to miss your reunion,contact the Rays and offer to send a check for fifty bucks to ‘Rays Charities’ if they will send you a creepy Zim Bear in return. I bet they’ll jump at the chance .

    Then you can hang out with all of your old Kool-Aid chugging buddies and re-live all the good times you had out on the monkey bars!

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