Fan Post: Nationals Bobbleheads-The Early Years

DC Sports Nexus ---- Thursday, June 7, 2012

Each Thursday We Let A Nats Fan Sound Off, Because Quite Frankly, The Fans Know More Than We Do
This Week's Entry Was Written By Nats Fan @Nati2de, runner of Ryan Zimmerman’s Bobblegänger on Facebook
========================Part I:  The Early Years=======================

One of my most vivid Nationals’ memories from the 200 plus games I have attended is Ryan Zimmerman’s putrid performance versus the White Sox on June 19, 2010. He went 0 for 4 at the plate as he was punched out 4 times by Jake Peavy in a 1-0 loss to the White Sox.

This game stands out in my memory because: (1) it was Father’s Day eve and I attended with my son; (2) Ryan Zimmerman is my favorite player and (3) it was Ryan Zimmerman bobblehead day.

Since that day, I’ve often wondered how players fare on their bobblehead games. We don't have time to look at ALL of bobblehead history, so let's take a look at the 12 game bobblehead history of the Washington Nationals.

An Overview:
  • There have been 12 bobblehead games in Nats history
  • In 4 of those games, the player with the bobblehead didn't play
  • The Nats have a 7-5 record in those games
  • Jayson Werth is the only National to homer on his bobblehead day
  • Best Performer On His Day:  Jayson Werth (+0.256 WPA)
  • Worst Performer On His Day:  Ryan Zimmerman (-0.219 WPA)

Chad Cordero (June 10th, 2006)

The first Nationals player bobblehead was Chad “Chief” Cordero.  Unfortunately, the Nats got pounded by the not-then-yet-hated Phillies 6-2 giving skipper Frank Robinson no reason to use his closer in the game.

Nats’ record in player bobblehead games: 0-1

Jose Guillen (July 7th, 2006)

Guillen started in right field and went 1 for 3 with 1 RBI as the Nats fell to the Padres 3-2 on his bobblehead night.  In the field, he recorded 4 putouts with no assists and no errors.  His Win Probability Added (WPA) for the game was +.033.

Nats’ record in player bobblehead games: 0-2


Racing Presidents Bobbleheads replaced player bobbleheads, which shows you what state the franchise was in at that point.


Dmitry Young (May 1st, 2008)

In the first bobblehead giveaway featuring a Nationals player in nearly 2 years, the Nats won 3-2 over the Pirates with Odalis Perez outdueling Zack Duke.  While the Nats prevailed, this night was not one of the 38 games that Da Meat Hook managed to play that season.  The promotion barely drew 24,700 to Nationals Park that night, which didn't help much to offset Young's $5 Mil contract.

Nats’ record in player bobblehead games: 1-2

Ryan Zimmerman (June 5th, 2008)

The Nats sent the fans home happy as they topped the Cardinals 10-9 on a 10th inning walkoff homer by Elijah Dukes in the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader.

Unfortunately, the Face of the Franchise didn’t play in this game as he was on the DL with a shoulder injury he had suffered on May 18th.  The injury would limit Zim to only 106 games in the 2008 season.

Nats’ record in player bobblehead games: 2-2


Adam Dunn (August 8th, 2009)

The Big Donkey went 1 for 3 with 1 RBI, a run scored, and was hit by a pitch in a 5-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Amazingly, Dunn neither struck out nor committed an error this night.  He recorded 8 putouts and had 3 assists and recorded a +.122 WPA for the game.

The Dunn bobblehead was the first of the two-piece set of “One Dimensional Sluggers for Terrible DC Teams” bobbleheads.   A Frank Howard bobblehead was subsequently given away nearly two weeks later on August 20, 2009.

Nats’ record in player bobblehead games: 3-2

So in the first 4 years of the Washington National's bobblehead promotions the team went 3-2.  Continue to Read Part II

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