Fallen Friars: A 2015 Bobblehead Series Idea

As a new season ticket holder member, I’ve started to think more about off-the-field nonsense than ever before. In the last Gwynntelligence podcast, we threw out the idea of having Bip Roberts and Eric Owens as potential niche bobblehead giveaways. Today, to commemorate National Bobblehead Day, I’ve got a new idea for some retro bobbleheads: Fallen Friars, commemorating Padres legends that are no longer with us.

Obviously, the motivation here is to get Tony Gwynn and Jerry Coleman bobbleheads, finally. (If you visit Padres Public’s history on Padres bobbleheads, you’ll see they’ve never had them.) But there are several other people important to Padres history who are no longer with us that deserve bobbleheads for their contributions to the franchise.

You might balk at some of these names for how they’re fallen, or ask the question “shouldn’t player X (who is alive) be honored instead of lesser player Y (who has fallen)”, which is a valid question. Giving away a bobblehead featuring a player who died from alcoholism or a drug overdose raises eyebrows, but I actually think it would provide a good opportunity for parents to talk to their children about some of these ills. Mainly, though, all of these players did play significant roles in Padres history; we can argue that Steve Finley or some other Padre could be interchanged with another based on merit, but that doesn’t discredit the merit of the player having the bobblehead being made.

Anyway, here’s the series:

Jerry Coleman

Jerry Coleman’s legacy in Padres history can’t really be understated. Truly, it’s sad that Jerry never had a bobblehead giveaway given everything he’s done for the franchise and his exemplary behavior unrelated to his work as a Padre.

There are so many good bobblehead ideas for Jerry, but the favorite one I’ve come up with is a static Jerry Coleman in a plane above the clouds, with a bobblestar. The plane is obviously an ode to his military service, while the clouds give it a touch of symbolism. And man would I love to make the star bobble after every great play going forward.

Tony Gwynn

Somehow, Tony Gwynn has also never had a Padres-sponsored bobblehead giveaway.

There are many different bobblehead ideas for Tony, which should either feature his stance, his smile, or his hitting prowess. I actually think re-creating this image featuring his eight batting titles with a bobblehead would be pretty cool.

The bottom line is that making a bobble to commemorate Tony is well overdue.

Ken Caminiti

If we were delegating credit for Petco Park getting built, Ken Caminiti would have to be in the top five of that conversation based on the excitement he brought to the Padres during the mid-90s leading up to the ballpark vote in 1998. He’s the only Padres player to win the Most Valuable Player award and was a key part of a Padres postseason roster, twice.

I can’t imagine fans not wanting a Caminiti bobblehead, especially if the Padres could work some of his amazing glove work into the design.

Eric Show

Eric Show was a decidedly average starting pitcher: as a Padre, he put a 100 ERA+ (which is exactly average) over 1600+ innings. And he never received an MVP vote or reached an All-Star game.

That said, he was still an important piece of Padres history, especially to the 1984 team. He’s still the franchise leader in wins, at 100, ranks 7th in pitching WAR, 1st in starts, 2nd in innings pitched, 4th in strikeouts, and so on. Basically, he litters the leaderboard.

While that’s more a result of the Padres poor franchise history, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the few guys who spent a long time being average in San Diego. After all, the list of guys who spent 10 seasons in San Diego is incredibly short.

Dick Williams

Dick managed the ’84 Padres. Since we probably shouldn’t be giving Bruce Bochy a bobblehead, and I’d prefer to refrain from making a Buddy Black bobblehead until he demonstrates success with the Padres, this is the best we can do in terms of managerial bobbleheads.

Besides being the manager of the ’84 Padres, Dick Williams is also the only manager in franchise history without a losing season, as he was let go after the ’85 season.

Dick’s antics in San Diego aren’t that well documented, but are commonly recited by those who are old enough to remember those Padres teams – I am not one of those lucky folks. However, through listening to Kurt Bevacqua on 1090 and Andy Strasberg on several occasions, I’ve become a big fan of the way Dick Williams motivated players. I wish Bud Black could have learned some of it.

Conclusion

A bobblehead set – Fallen Friars – featuring Jerry Coleman, Tony Gwynn, Ken Caminiti, Eric Show, and Dick Williams would be an awesome set…easily the best in Padres history. I have seen research suggesting that bobbleheads don’t bring in enough fans to warrant their production costs, but I think giveaways go much deeper than that: they help form a connection between the fan and the franchise. In my opinion, the Padres should focus less on immediate return on investment and more on building long-term connections with fans; it has been a long time since that was their MO.

If fans are actually concerned about the Padres profiting off the deceased, there’s nothing stopping the team from donating a portion of the proceeds from each game to military families (Jerry), Cancer research (Tony), drug and alcohol abuse non-profits (Cammy and Show), or Aneurysm Outreach Inc. (Dick).

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