Random Sports Knick-Knacks From Growing Up In the 2000s

By: Zachary Diamond
Posted: April 2, 2020

Now that I have entered my post-college years, it means that I have to get rid of all my old crap that has been sitting in my childhood bedroom (per my mom).

When I go through old stuff, I have a tendency to get all nostalgic and conservative and it takes forever for me to get through it all. Between my old toys, school work, photos, birthday cards, sporting goods, and other random junk, I want to hold onto it all forever! It’s apart of my personal history! Plus, you never know when your high school social studies notes will come in handy.

The stuff that I will never get rid of is my sports knick-knacks. It’s all junk, but it’s my junk. I also hold onto the belief that maybe one day some of the sports junk I’m holding onto can be sold for actual money to some vintage sporting goods store (yes I am delusional).

I have compiled some of my sports junk below to get a sense of the kind of riches that are in my possession.

Ichiro bobblehead

I got this tiny plastic Ichiro bobblehead out of a Post cereal box in 2002. It’s hilarious how much the bobblehead doesn’t look like Ichiro. It was one of my first pieces of sports junk and the Seattle Mariners uniform has turned yellow with age. I did some digging online and found an eBay seller who is selling the entire bobblehead set. For my entire life, I had no idea who the other players were coming out of cereal boxes. The seller listed Jason Giambi, Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell, Bernie Williams, Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, and Luis Gonzalez as the other bobbleheads. As a Mets fan, I would have loved to have the Mike Piazza bobblehead.

Orlando Magic Shaquille O’Neal action figure

This Shaq action figure is actually not something from my childhood (as much as I wish), as I bought it last summer at an antique shop in upstate New York. For only a couple of dollars, I had to splurge. After googling the action figure, I discovered that it was from 1993, right after Shaq entered the NBA. Unbeknownst to me, the action figure used to be attached at the feet to an Orlando Magic logo. The Shaq figure can’t balance on his feet, I’ve always had to lean it onto something, so it makes sense that the feet used to be held up by a stand.

Endy Chávez bobblehead

Endy Chávez was a backup outfielder for the Mets from 2006-2008 and he had one of the best catches in postseason history during the 2006 playoffs, which birthed my Mets fandom. The following year in 2007, my parents took me and two of my friends to a Mets game for my birthday against the Cincinnati Reds. The promotion was an awesome Endy bobblehead that reenacted his famous catch from the prior playoffs. I still remember the grand slam that Brandon Phillips hit off John Maine in the first inning of that game (which the Mets lost 8-4).

We arrived at the game too late and all of the Chávez bobbleheads were given away already. I was crushed. My birthday is in April but this game was in July because I specifically wanted to get that bobblehead. On the train ride back home, my parents miraculously were able to buy some bobbleheads off some uninterested fans to give to me and my friends, and everything was alright in the world.

Miroslav Satan bobblehead

I don’t even follow the NHL (although I do like going to games) but I have this Miroslav Satan bobblehead that was given to me by my friend’s mom. Satan played for the New York Islanders from 2005-2008 so I’d imagine that the bobblehead is from around that time. Satan is a four-time NHL All-Star who played most of his career with the Buffalo Sabres.

Mets Build-A-Bear

I went to a Mets game on August 1, 2009, which was sponsored by Build-A-Bear Workshop. It was the Mets’ first season in their new stadium Citi Field, and the promotion for the game was this Build-A-Bear stuffed animal wearing some Mets swag. The coolest part of the promotion, in my opinion, is the “Inaugural Season 2009” logo on the bottom of the bear’s foot. It enhances the bear’s value as a collector’s item. You can find the bear on eBay for 30 bucks so maybe it’s actually something people consider of value.

Hank Aaron figurine

I’ve always had an appreciation for Hank Aaron, the man who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record. As a Mets fan, I have always significantly disliked the Atlanta Braves, so I felt bad having a Braves player up around my room. Yet, Hank Aaron was the exception, as he’s a baseball legend. The baseball bat broke off at some point, as you can see it’s missing from Aaron’s hands. The figurine is part of the 2008 McFarlane Cooperstown collection which included Hall of Fame members Dennis Eckersley, Mike Schmidt, Ty Cobb, Ryne Sandberg, and Mickey Mantle.

Backyard Soccer

A computer game may not technically count as a “knick-knack” but I loved the Backyard Sports series (especially Backyard Baseball). I also had versions of their games on my Gameboy Advance. Backyard Soccer had female pros like Brandi Chastain and Briana Scurry as kids along with other men’s MLS players. The game was released in 2000. I also had Backyard Hockey which was quality too. The best part about these games was mixing real-life pros amongst fictional characters. Before I was playing Madden football, NBA 2K, or MLB The Show, Backyard sports were the only sports video games for young kids that let me play with real-life athletes. Backyard sports were my bridge into playing sports video games, which to this day is the only type of video game I play.

NBA Build-A-Bear

I honestly have no idea where this bear came from, but it’s a Build-A-Bear wearing an NBA jersey. I have never been to Build-A-Bear Workshop, I have never built a bear, so it’s a mystery where it came from and why I’ve had it so long. My favorite part is the basketball strapped to the bear’s arm. It’s a nice touch. The NBA logos are also cool on the shorts and jersey. I would prefer the jersey to be of an actual NBA team and not just say “NBA” but it is what it is.

Ben Sheets and Chipper Jones tiny figurines

These very tiny 2-inch Ben Sheets and Chipper Jones figurines were part of a board game type thing from 2004 called MLB SportsClix. I never actually played the game but in hindsight, I probably would’ve loved it. The game involved using real baseball players as game pieces and rolling die and stuff. The gameboard is a baseball diamond where you’d put the 2-inch figurines into their position. There were over 100 different baseball players you could collect that you would use in the game. It honestly all sounds amazing and I wish I got to play it in my youth. Instead, these game pieces have been sitting on my shelf collecting dust for 16 years.

Shea Stadium replica

I received a Shea Stadium replica while attending a Mets game on June 14, 2008, as a promotion. That was the last season that the Mets played at Shea Stadium, their home field since the team’s inception. Some of the gray outfield lights have broken off. Shea Stadium, while a dump towards the end of its life, is fondly remembered by Mets fans. My earliest memories of going to baseball games were at Shea Stadium. The stadium was used for 45 years. My favorite part of the stadium is that it was named after William Shea, a lawyer who was instrumental in the creation of the New York Mets. Shea Stadium was named after an important person in Mets history, and not a corporation paying for naming rights, like all of today’s stadiums. It’s got more charm that way.

Citi Field replica

Speaking of corporate naming rights, the new stadium the Mets moved into after Shea Stadium was called Citi Field. CitiBank pays $20 million a year to have its name on the stadium. In 2009, the year Citi Field opened, the Mets gave out a Citi Field replica promotion on August 23 against the Philadelphia Phillies. I am very fortunate that my friend for my 12th birthday took me to the first home game in Citi Field’s history that April. Mike Pelfrey notoriously balked (the dude tripped off the mound) in another classic case of “lol fail Mets”

For more thoughts and opinions from Zachary, check out his author page or Twitter.

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