PHOENIX -- Dan Haren’s wife had been on him about getting rid of the 300 bobbleheads that he had collected during his Major League career, but the right-hander viewed them as a treasured collection.
Then the world changed seemingly overnight as COVID-19 began circling the globe and many businesses closed while sports like Major League Baseball suspended their seasons.
Haren has played an important role for the D-backs as their pitching strategist the past three seasons, helping pitchers develop game plans for upcoming opponents. He was at the team’s Salt River Fields Spring Training complex when baseball came to a halt.
When he returned to his California home, Haren took another look at his bobbleheads.
Maybe there was a way to use the bobbleheads to help people during this time of national emergency?
Haren decided to auction off some of them, and along with each he is including a handwritten notecard that includes a memory or story about the player. All the proceeds will go to the Children’s Action Alliance, which is based in Arizona, and the Hollywood Food Coalition in California.
Both charities are ones the Harens have supported themselves, and even if fans don’t choose to bid on a bobblehead, Haren hopes they will consider donating to the charities.
According to their website, the Children’s Action Alliance is an independent voice for Arizona children at the state capitol and in the community. CAA works to improve children’s health, education and security through information and action.
The Hollywood Food Coalition, meanwhile, provides a warm, nutritious meal along with access to basic daily needs, such as clothing, backpacks, sleeping bags and hygiene items, as well as assistance with housing placement and referrals.
“I thought it would be an interesting way to kind of just bring some attention to some good organizations and maybe make people smile during a really tough time,” Haren said. “The reaction from people has been really great.”
There is still time to bid on this batch, but time is running out as most end sometime Wednesday. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response and money bid so far, Haren is looking into the possibility of auctioning off another batch of bobbleheads in the near future.
The notecards, which are signed by Haren, show off his witty side.
The note with Zack Greinke’s bobblehead reads, “Will tell me that selling my bobbleheads is a dumb idea.”
Along with the Derek Jeter bobblehead comes, “I got him out at the last All-Star Game at the old Yankee Stadium. A career highlight.”
The Barry Bonds bobblehead that Haren has includes a counter where fans could keep track of his career home run total. Haren set it for 720 and wrote on the card, “The counter is on 720, he got me on a 3-0 fastball!!”
Speaking of home run hitters, the Hank Aaron bobblehead comes with, “Saw him once, got his autograph and I lost the ball.”
Good humor, with a good cause and message attached.
“It’s a tough time for anybody,” Haren said. “I think it’s scariest for people who don’t have much and are just struggling to get by so I think it’s a time when everyone needs to pull together. Give a little bit if you can and help people if you’re able. I just encourage looking out for others as much as you can right now.”