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Manny Ramirez (the bobblehead) is on the market

DODGERS

Given away at Dodger Stadium, dolls in the slugger's image show up on EBay after he hits a clutch homer.

July 24, 2009|Lauren Goldman

From grand slam to grand sell, Manny's a hit on EBay.

By Thursday afternoon, more than 260 dreadlocked Manny Ramirez bobbleheads were being auctioned, each going for close to the same price as four Dodger Dogs, a couple of beers and a bag of peanuts.

Perhaps best known for sitting on car dashboards, bobbleheads come in many shapes and sizes. But one that really stands out in a crowd -- especially a crowd of 56,000 -- is the one that was given free to those who attended Wednesday's game against the Cincinnati Reds.

After Ramirez's game-turning grand slam in the sixth inning, on his own bobblehead night, plenty of fans weren't even going to take the doll out of the box. They had a different idea.

Hello, EBay.

Some bobbleheads, including one of President Obama, go for 99 cents. Most Manny bobbleheads were priced between $40 and $70. Some sellers got creative and listed the bobblehead with their ticket stub from the game while at least one user thought two Manny bobbleheads were better than one -- for $109.95.

Another seller opened the bid at 99 cents but placed a "Buy it now" button next to a price of $100. Free shipping too.

Ramirez, appearing at a Dodgers charity event downtown Thursday night, was told his miniature self was up for sale. "Didn't even know," he said, smiling.

Since the Manny bobblehead given at the game was available only to the first 50,000 who arrived, people seem to want what they can't have. And they're willing to pay.

Josh Rawitch, Dodgers vice president of communications, said the bobbleheads made for Wednesday's giveaway won't be available for sale at the stadium unless there are extras.

The Dodgers have three bobblehead promotions this year. Casey Blake was the first, then Ramirez, and next will be Matt Kemp.

"Manny's bobblehead definitely created a buzz," Rawitch said.

The Dodgers knew they would offer a Manny bobblehead ever since signing Ramirez in March, Rawitch said. Despite Ramirez's 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy, the Dodgers went ahead with their plan, especially after Ramirez received such a warm welcome his first game back at Dodger Stadium.

Lou Criscione, co-owner of Inside the Park Collectibles, an Internet sports memorabilia company that specializes in bobbleheads, said "there will be a lot of interest at first in the Manny bobblehead, especially because of his grand slam. However, it will have a short shelf life."

Criscione says bobbleheads are now considered collectibles, but it wasn't always so.

"When I was a kid, we'd use bobbing heads to shoot BB guns at, and they'd explode beautifully," Criscione said. "We played with them, broke them, and threw them out. Everyone in today's world is more interested in its dollar value."

For this reason, Criscione added that "if they've made 50,000 Manny bobbleheads, there will be close to 50,000 of them in perfect condition in the future. That's why their price probably won't increase."

On Aug. 5, another Ramirez promotion will occur at Dodger Stadium. A poster will be given to the first 20,000 fans.

Dennis Mannion, the Dodgers' president, said the club had planned a series of posters that would commemorate the team's achievements. The first was Orlando Hudson's hitting for the cycle; the second celebrated the many comeback wins the team has had.

The third wasn't decided until Wednesday night.

"It seemed to be a no-brainer to celebrate Manny's grand slam for the next poster," Mannion said. "He brings a special sizzle to the team."

Ramirez said he is excited to have a poster illustrating an event that he still finds out of this world.

"I couldn't believe what happened last night, but I'm just happy that I made it happen."

If a hand-size figurine is priced between $50 and $100, then who knows what the Manny Ramirez grand-slam poster will go for? Fans at that game better be careful, though. Posters rip easily.

--

lauren.goldman@latimes.com

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