A Bobblehead Collection Like Few Others

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Ryan: “I’d rather not count up the man-hours just standing in a line.”

Lifelong Napervillian and sports reporter here at NCTV17, Ryan Risky isn’t talking about movie lines, rollercoaster lines or even the DMV… he’s talking about lines in to sporting events… to ensure he gets his hands on more bobbleheads.

Ryan: “The Cubs were really bad in 2012, lost over 100 games. They had a Castro bobblehead day and at the time, you know, he was the only player people liked. So I wanted to go get that and then I just started looking promotion schedules after that for the good bobbleheads games and ever since, I’ve been to almost ever bobblehead game.”

And that has lead to a staggering collection. Risky estimates over 120 bobble heads he has picked up at stadium gates over the last 7 years.

The ones that are on the mantle here are just the ones that are currently on my shelf. Crawford, obviously, because he’s my favorite athlete. And then I put Ernie Banks up there after he passed away because that was a cool promotion they had in 2014.

The temptation to sell some of the giveaway items is strong…

“Yes, when you see a lot of them going for over $100, yes.”

… But each has a story, and sentimental value… along with that monetary value.

“Right here is probably the most valuable one, and my favorite, the final out bobblehead, featuring Bryant and Rizzo and then a blue W in the background there – that one was selling between 150 and 200 dollars.”

That’s a pretty penny to pass up… but after hearing the story of endurance to get it makes it clear there’s a reason it remains on the mantle.

“Funny story getting this one – so the original game, I knew it was going to be a hot bobblehead so I waited two and a half hours in line for a game in May in a torrential downpour. Right before the gates opened, they called the game. So then it was made up in July on a day that it was 100 degrees out. Waited another two and a half hours and finally got it. I was one of the first 15 people in line because I didn’t want to deal with people attacking the ushers for the bobbleheads because, that’s actually what happened.”

While the have accumulated, so too have the memories. Precise ones, of that.

“I just remember, you know I associate game by bobblehead and there was one year, and I forget the year – it was Tuevo Teravanean’s first full season with the Hawks and he had a bobblehead day and the Blackhawks were losing 4-0 by the end of the first period.”

The recall is astounding, considering the fact that Risky doesn’t keep score during games, or revisit box scores to refresh his memory.

Though he was on hand in a professional capacity for a pair of bobbleheads

“These two, the Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman magnet bobbleheads, these were the giveaway for the 2018 Illinois High School Hockey State Championship. I was there with the media covering the Warrior Hockey Club. So, obviously a really fun day, I was happy to get the bobbleheads and enjoy working at the United Center shooting video for the game.”

After 24 years, Risky is set to leave Naperville, taking a news and sports reporter job with WHBF in the Quad-Cities.

Some of the bobbleheads will come with; others will have to be left behind – to which Risky jokes.

“My mom has debated charging me rent to house them.”

Even with his address moving two hours away, the lines will continue to call Risky’s name with more promotions already circled on his calendar.

Reporting for Sports Story Sunday, I’m Kevin Jackman