Willie Mays

Ever wonder what first-ever bobblehead was at Giants baseball game?

Ever wonder what first-ever bobblehead was at Giants baseball game?

Editor's note: All week long. we'll answer questions that Bay Area sports fans long have debated in "Ever Wonder?"  This segment: What was the first-ever bobblehead giveaway at a baseball game?

Bobblehead giveaways have become synonymous with sporting events all across the nation. Fans line up around the corner in order to get their hands on these pint-sized statues.

But ever wonder what was the first-ever bobblehead giveaway at a baseball game?

It turns out, the Giants originated the concept in 1999, their last year at Candlestick Park. Mario Alioto, the Giants' executive vice president of business operations, explained the idea behind the concept to NBC Sports Bay Area.

"I remember thinking, I wonder if we could do a bobblehead day," Alioto said. "That's something I think a lot of people remembered from the souvenirs at Candlestick Park."

Find out more about how bobbleheads originated and the first-ever model in the video above.

More from "Ever Wonder"

Giants' Pablo Sandoval details meeting Willie Mays during MLB call-up


Giants' Pablo Sandoval details meeting Willie Mays during MLB call-up

Giants legend Willie Mays just celebrated his 89th birthday on Wednesday which was a chance for baseball fans, and Giants players, to share their favorite stories about him.

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval also shared a memory about the Hall of Fame outfielder that sent us back to Panda’s rookie season. While the two-time All-Star said there were many stories about Mays, there was one in particular that stood out to him when he got the call.

“I never thought that I was going to meet Willie Mays,” Sandoval said in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area’s ‘Shelter on Base’ hosts earlier this week. “He’s so humble, we shake hands, talked to him about it … “

Mays grabbed Sandoval’s bat during the chat as the two talked about the game and hitting. They also talked about the differences from the Mays era (1950s-early 70s) compared to now and how things have changed in baseball. 

“There’s a lot of things that I could share with you guys, but the most important thing was when I got the call up to the big leagues,” Sandoval added.

There are many “tug at your heartstrings” type of stories the Say Hey Kid is involved with, but he can humble you. Just as he does with Pablo’s BFF Hunter Pence.

Pence told a story of Mays giving him his own set of advice but admitted he was a bit of a trash talker as well.

Mays would ask Pence how many homers he hit in a year.

[RELATED: Brandon Belt putting Giants on back during simulation]

“Not as many as you hit Willie.”

Mays continues to make an impact on the Giants decades after he retired from the game. 

Willie Mays saluted by current, former Giants players on 89th birthday

Willie Mays saluted by current, former Giants players on 89th birthday

Today, May 6, 2020, marks birthday number 89 for legendary Giant and Hall of Famer, Willie Mays.

What better way to celebrate the "Say Hey Kid" than hear from those that got to know him best -- current and former Giants players.

I sent out a few texts asking the fellas, “What does Mays mean to you?” and the responses were so overwhelming, I sent out more. Below is the result of what can only be described as ultimate respect and admiration for arguably the best to ever play the game.

In such a tumultuous time I hope thoughts from some of your favorite Giants about the greatest Giant bring a smile to your face.

Buster Posey

"The greatest to ever play the game! Very fortunate for us as players and fans for you to be a part of the Giants Organization for so many years. Happy birthday Willie!"

Will Clark

"Willie is the best that ever played the game. I learned so much from him and Willie McCovey that it is hard to describe. He IS the Giants!!! Happy birthday, my friend!!"

Matt Cain

"Willie is the best, there isn’t anything better than when Willie comes into spring training and shares his stories. He tells them like it was yesterday that they happened."

Javier Lopez

"Willie Mays is the greatest player to play the game. To see him daily in Murphy’s Clubhouse is some of the moments and memories I’ll truly cherish. To know that he has touched so many lives both in and out of the Giant organization is a testament to how special this man is.

"From The Polo Grounds to Oracle Park 'The Say Hey Kid' continues to bring happiness and joy to all that love this sacred game. Happy 89th Birthday Willie!"

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Shawon Dunston

"He means everything to me. He’s a walking encyclopedia. You can ask him questions about ball and he brings the old days into now. Spring Training meetings, everyone asks him questions and he remembers everything about every game.

"He knows what he’s talking about and you better take it to heart. It’s beautiful. Happy Birthday, Willie."

Rich Aurilia

"When Barry went 40-40 in 1996, Willie said 'If I knew that would be such a big deal, I would’ve done it every year!!' "

Mike Krukow

"Willie Mays is the essence of our game and the uniqueness of his talent was that you didn’t have to be a veteran big league scout to understand his brilliance. Even a person from another country with zero knowledge of baseball would know when they were watching Mays that they were watching the greatest who ever played."

[RELATED: Would Mays have out-homered Bonds at Oracle Park?]

Evan Longoria

"As a player who has been fortunate to play Major League Baseball as long as I have, there are few stories that I will tell my kids and grandkids. One of them will be about me having a conversation with one of the greatest players who ever lived. Happy Birthday Willie!"

Brandon Crawford

"Willie is one of best baseball players ever. He’s a legend. To be able to have conversations with him, listen to his stories, and learn from his knowledge of the game over the years has been unbelievable. As a kid, I never would’ve imagined being able to sit down and hang out with Willie Mays."