Cruuuuuuuuz checks out his bobblehead.
Teams have been giving bobbleheads away for the better part of a decade, and while they’re fantastic keepsakes, not all players bear a clear-cut striking resemblance to their bobble likeness. That’s not a knock on the designers. I can’t imagine anything more difficult than trying to match a face with a plastic figurine, especially when the player doesn’t have any unusual or distinctive features, like a goatee (Bagwell), piercing blue eyes (Biggio) or a surfboard (Ausmus).
That said, I was duly impressed with the Jose Cruz bobblehead sample that arrived in Kissimmee a few days ago. It’s one of many items the Astros will be featuring this year as they celebrate their 45th anniversary, and Cheo’s likeness harkens back to the glory days of the mid-1980s when rainbow jerseys weren’t yet retro — they were just simply cool.
The Astros have hosted several throwback days over the years, and the rainbow jerseys have made a handful of random cameo appearances. Every time the team wore them, I could help but notice how silly they looked on everyone — except Cruz. He stood at first base wearing the yellow, orange and red, and it just looked right.
I ran that thought by Cheo: “Everyone else looks dorky, except for you,” I suggested. “I look good in anything,” he answered. (Cheo has a hilarious sense of humor. His initial reaction when he saw his bobblehead? “It looks like chocolate.”)
The Cruz bobblehead will be given out on April 24, the first of four nostalgic figurines saluting 45 years of Astros history. The others include Jimmy Wynn on June 5, Nolan Ryan (June 19) and Mike Scott (July 10).
We staged a photo shoot with Cruz, Lance Berkman and Hunter Pence in order to provide an up-close view of some of the items that will be on display this year. We also shot some video that includes reactions from all three. Trust me, Cruz’s segment alone is worth the click.
Here’s Puma wearing the 45th anniversary cap that will given away on April 9:
And Pence models the 1965 jersey that will be handed out on April 10. The Astros will also wear that jersey during the game as part of a special “Turn Back the Clock” night. The visiting Phillies will also wear their uniforms from 1965.
Other anniversary-themed giveaways include schedule magnets (Opening Day), fleece blanket (April 23) and replicas of both the blue and orange caps the Astros wore from 1965-93 (July 9 and July 28).
A complete list of Astros promotional games can be found here. See you at the park!