There may be 8 Bear mascots in the NCAA Division 1 (including Black, Sugar, and of course Golden varieties), but there is only ONE Oski, the Golden Bear.
To commemorate Cal Bears’ 1959 NCAA Championship in men’s basketball, National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum (yes, that’s a place...in Milwaukee, WI) has exclusively released on March 1st, 2017 a special bobblehead. You can purchase one from THIS LINK HERE for $40 each plus $8 for shipping and handling.
The Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum sent yours truly a bobblehead for review.
In 1959, legendary Cal coach Pete Newell’s team defeated West Virginia, which had superstar Jerry West - The Most Outstanding Player of that Final Four, by a 71-70 score in the final. Coach Newell’s Golden Bears defeated Cincinnati and their superstar Oscar Robertson in that year’s semifinal. While that Cal squad does not feature any player of the prominence of a West or Robertson, it does include Darrall Imhoff - whose No.40 is one of the precious few jersey that’s hanging in Haas Pavilion (it was retired in 2009). Of course, instead of the great Pete Newell or Imhoff, it is our beloved Oski, Cal mascot since 1941, that is featured in the bobblehead that honors the lone (thus far) NCAA men’s basketball championship in Cal history.
Looking directly at the bobblehead (based on the base), you notice right away that Oski is following Aziz Ansari’s advice on Modern Romance for the most effective profile picture for a dude: he is looking to the side. Oski is way too cool to stare directly back at you. What is he looking at? Oski knows how to get the ladies.
Right behind Oski is a sign that says “NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions” with a huge “1959” for the year of Cal’s national championship. On the backside of that sign is perhaps a missed opportunity. It would have been more fun to list the team roster and/or their NCAA tournament journey instead of being left blank.
If you have not noticed it, Oski is standing right on top of the script “Cal” logo. That’s a nice subtle addition of the bobblehead’s “Cal-ness”.
Also very importantly, I was impressed with the package that was the bobblehead. The outer package was nicely packed and include the inner package shown above. Unlike the bobbleheads that you get for free at sporting events, this bobblehead had a couple special pieces of foam to support the head. The Bobblehead Museum folks sure know how to ensure that their product will get to the destination unharmed.
- If you notice stuff like kerning (the spacing between letters), the spacing in the “CALIFORNIA GOLDENBEARS” may bother you, particularly the lack of space between “GOLDEN” and “BEARS”.
- Oski’s sweater, dating back to 1941, has the block C in the real deal rather than the relatively recent proprietary narrower C from the “Cal font” like on this bobblehead.
- If you look carefully at the neck of this bobblehead Oski, it has the coloration of that of a pale human rather than that of a brown bear like in the real deal (matching his head). While we are talking about this Oski’s hair, he is particularly Golden (more blonde) in this version compares to the real deal.
- With no offense meant for the real Oski, this bobblehead version of him is certainly of a “more ideal” shape. This bobblehead is also a bit bigger than your standard bobblehead from a baseball game (see below). Essentially, this is the Michelangelo’s David version of our beloved Oski.
FINAL VERDICT: If you are a Cal fan and love Oski, you may consider adding this well-made bobblehead to your collection of Cal memorabilia. You can now educate your office that Cal does indeed have won a NCAA championship in men’s basketball (so you’re not insane for picking Cal to win it all in every March Madness bracket). Your officemates will also learn why Oski and his classic sweater-vest is simply just iconic. A random Bear in human clothes, like that Joe Bruin, just won’t do. The Bobblehead Museum claims that they are only making 216 of these (and I’ve got one of them!), and each of them is individually numbered on the bottom of the bobblehead. $40 before shipping and handling is indeed fairly pricy, but the official Cal store was recently charging $40 for a few of the spare Marshawn Lynch injury cart bobblehead leftover from the giveaway at the Cal Football game last fall.
I give this bobblehead 3 OUT OF 4 MARSHAWN!
Now that I do have this one, I will feel the need to complete my collection by getting any future bobbleheads made to commemorate each of the future Cal Men’s Basketball NCAA championships. I guess that’s how they are going to get my money. Maybe it’s good (for my wallet) that Cal basketball is not Kentucky.