Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Collecting the Sox: Stuffed Animals

It wasn’t all that long ago that beanie babies were a huge craze. People we falling all over each other trying to get the little stuffed animals. As with any odd craze that grips the nation (like those silly bands, for instance) it doesn’t take long before sports jump on board. The most obvious way was by handing out the beanie babies themselves at games. This created a collectable, as well as a way to get people to the games. An easy example of this is when David Wells threw a perfect game on the night that the Yankees were giving away beanie babies. The Hall of Fame actually took one of the giveaways for their display. The reason? They figured that the only reason so many people were in the stands to witness history was the fact that the beanies were being given away. I always though it was a great commentary on Yankees fans. The 1998 Yankees were supposed to be one of the greatest teams in baseball history. The only way the Yankees could get fans to the game was to give them an $8 bear? But, I digress.

The other way that sports were able to latch onto someone else’s good idea, is to simply use the bear concept. There are bears for everything. Bears with different team uniforms. Bears painted in team colors. Bears with a players name just written on them. For the 1999 All-Star game, a set of bears was produced featuring several of the expected players from the game. Stuffed animals were everywhere.

That’s not even counting the stuffed animals that were always there. Mascots are often found in stuffed form. I dare you to visit the Red Sox team store without tripping on stuffed Wallys of every size. Those obnoxious Rally Monkeys were all over Angels Stadium. Stuffed animals make up a big part of just about any team souvenir shop.

Do they make good collectables? I have to admit that I like them. They’re usually pretty colorful. They make a nice visual sitting on a desk or a chair. They’re fairly cheap. Unless you were crazy enough to shell out a small fortune during the beanie craze, they can be found for less than $20. They’re generally everywhere you’d want to buy something. If you plan on visiting other parks, you can easily get a stuffed mascot from just about all of them. They can be a small challenge to store, if you have a lot of them. Personally, I just throw mine onto a chair. I like the way they look in a jumbled pile of colors. If you have special ones, thanks to the beanie loons, there are plenty of storage cases and stands out there. They can make for a nice display on a bookshelf. Or, I’ve seen nets that kids use to hang their stuffed animals from the wall like a hammock. I always thought that would be a great way to go. Anyone have a creative stuffed animal storage plan?

Really, simple stuffed animals present just about anything you could want in a Red Sox collectable. They have variety, they’re chap, and there’s availability. They fit into team collection, player collections, event collections, and just about anything else you can think of.

What else can you ask for?

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