I’m going to kick off the “Bobblehead Days” series with the figurines I’m most familiar with, those of the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s easier to make it to Miller Park than Wrigley Field for me, so often times my family and I will try to go on a bobblehead night. I’ve had success finding them after the game for cheap as well. So far, I’ve collected Ben Sheets, Doug Melvin, Craig Counsell, and Trevor Hoffman, to name a few.
In 2011, the Brew Crew handed out seven bobbleheads. Five of those were of current players, while two of them I’d classify as mascots. Bernie Brewer didn’t make an appearance – rather, one of the famous Racing Sausages (Hot Dog) and a Miller Light Beer Vendor were given out in July.
Let’s take a look, game by game, at what happened during the Brewers’ bobblehead days.
April 24th – John Axford (CL)
Game Stats: 1 inning pitched, 1 hit allowed, 2 strikeouts, SAVE
Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford earned his 9th-inning gig in 2010, replacing the struggling former all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman. The right-hander entered 2011 with the job secured, although he did have some struggles in the early goings. Prior to his bobblehead day, Axford was 3 for 6 in save opportunities, with 10 hits, 10 runs, and 7 walks allowed in those 9 games, good for a 11.25 earned run average. After securing the save in a 4-1 Brewers victory, Ax went on a tear and converted 43 opportunities straight. That was good enough to break the Brewers franchise record, and was among the best in the big leagues. Bobblehead Day treated Axford good!
May 22nd – Casey McGehee (3B)
Game Stats: 0-for-2, 2 walks, 2 men left on base
Casey McGehee is the man that every Brewers fan loved to mention they got for nothing from the Chicago Cubs. He was claimed off of waivers in the ’08-09 offseason after making his big league debut on the North side of Chicago. After rock solid 2009 and 2010 campaigns (.301 batting average, 16 homers, 66 RBIs in ’09, .285 avg, 23 home runs, 104 RBIs in ’10), the third baseman struggled at times at the dish in 2011. That didn’t affect his playing time however, at least around bobblehead day. McGehee started every day during the nine-game homestand in which his bobblehead was given away. On Casey’s two-walk day, the Brewers won, 3-1. McGehee was 7-for-34 (.206 avg) during that homestand with a home run, three RBIs, and 3 walks.
June 12th – Zack Greinke (SP)
Game Stats: Did not play
The Brewers wasted no time promoting their new starting pitcher, hooking up Greinke with a bobblehead within two months of his Brew Crew debut. Although Greinke did not pitch on his special day (it would be foolish of the manager to pitch one of his studs on short rest to accomodate), he did pitch the day before. On June 11th, Greinke went 7 innings, gave up 7 hits and 3 runs while striking out 9. On his Bobblehead Day, Zack’s team beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-3.
July 10th – Hot Dog (Racing Sausage)
Game Stats: Victory in the Sausage Race
As Bernie Brewer documented on Twitter, the Hot Dog won the Sausage Race on July 10th, his Bobblehead Day. He was the most successful sausage this season, winning 25 out of 78 races. His win total was 10 more than Chorizo, the second place sausage during the season. The final for that game: a 4-3 walkoff win. Hot dog!
July 30th – Miller Light (Beer Vendor)
Game Stats: Uhhh…
Don’t know how to quite measure this one. The Brewers released two mascot-type bobbleheads in the month of July. I’m sure the Brewers sold thousands of Miller Lights that night… I’d call that a victory. The Crew would score a victory that night too, winning 6-2.
August 14th – Craig Counsell (IF)
Game Stats: 0-for-3, 3 strikeouts
We know from my bobblehead introductory post that Craig Counsell had a very unsuccessful Bobblehead Day, striking out three times in three at-bats. But did Counsell’s nodding figurine affect his starting time? In 2011, the 40 year old started 28 times, yet appeared in 107 games, starting roughly a quarter of the games he played in. His last start came a week earlier, on August 7th. Counting his bobblehead day, Counsell got more than a single at-bat in only 4 games during August. On his figurine day, the Brewers won 2-1 in extra innings despite Counsell’s lack of success at the dish.
September 25th – Randy Wolf (SP)
Game Stats: Did not play
Once again, being a starting pitcher, this Brewers player did not get to play on his Bobblehead Day. His start for that homestand came two days later, where he went 5 and 2/3 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving up 9 hits and 4 runs. He walked and struck out 3 Bucs. The Crew ended up winning that game. As for Wolf’s giveaway night, the Brewers crushed the Florida Marlins 9-5 to break the Miller Park single season record for victories in a season, with 55.
Brewers Bobblehead Days Summary
Let’s review: The Milwaukee Brewers were a perfect 7-0 on days they gave away free bobbleheads in 2011. For those current players that did see action on the day they were featured, position players were 0-for-5 with 3 strikeouts, 2 walks, and 2 left on base, while the only pitcher, John Axford, pitched a scoreless inning to earn the save. I’ll name the BPW (Best Performing Wobbler) Award to Axford for his first in a series of record setting saves, while the Beheaded Award goes to Counsell for his 3 strikeout day.
Note: Bobblehead images courtesy of the Brewers.com schedule.