February 18, 2011
This photo of this awesome bobblehead re-creation zoomed around the Internet early Friday morning and I initially chalked it up to the work of a very nostalgic artist from the Twin Cities. Though it surfaced on the Minnesota Twins official Facebook page, it seemed like the team couldn't have officially sanctioned a figurine inspired by one of the most controversial plays in World Series history.
But wait! The Twins actually did commission this bobbling remembrance of Kent Hrbek lifting Ron Gant off first base during Game 2 of the 1991 World Series. And Michael Rand of the Star Tribune reports that they'll be given away on a date TBA during this 20th anniversary season of that title team.
For those who weren't born yet, here's a description of the play from an ESPN article that named it one of the 10 worst calls in sports history:
Atlanta's Ron Gant ripped a single in the third and after rounding first retreated back to the bag. [Pitcher Kevin] Tapani threw the ball to first where Gant had appeared to make it in plenty of time. That was until Hrbek, under the guise of attempting to apply a tag, lifted Gant off the base. Umpire Drew Coble called him out. Guess what, the Twinkies win by one [3-2, to take a 2-0 series lead].
Twenty years later, there are plenty of Braves fans who remain plenty sore about the incident. And for good reason: Hrbek acted more like a sumo wrestler in that instant than a first baseman.
But now that the Twins are publicly celebrating being on the right side of historic misfortune, it opens a whole new world of possibilities for similar giveaways.
Among my initial thoughts: The Royals could hand out Don Denkinger bobbleheads, during the I-70 Series, Florida could feature Steve Bartman-Moises Alou handouts when the Cubs are in town and — my favorite idea to date — the Indians could celebrate Carlos Martinez's(notes) home run off Jose Canseco's head when the Rangers come calling.
Let's make these ideas a reality, promotions people.
What other infamous moments would make good bobbleheads?