The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the world to its core. What we once took for granted is now gone. Panic buying and mounting cases of COVID-19 are rampant, and so is fear, hunger and unemployment. Sports have been shunted to the sidelines. Troubling times, indeed.
Many athletes have pitched in to help, donating money to worthy causes. Former major league pitcher Dan Haren is one of them. Haren, who pitched for 13 seasons with eight teams during his career, has already made a difference. His family has donated to the Children’s Action Alliance and the Hollywood Food Coalition, but Haren wanted to do more. So, the 39-year-old decided to sell several of his bobbleheads on eBay.
Gonna get rid of all 300 pic.twitter.com/gWtE5jK46o
— dan haren (@ithrow88) March 26, 2020
Haren joined eBay on March 20, so don’t be put off by his lack of a seller’s rating.
The bobbleheads are for a good cause. Haren has written funny, but personal notes about the player represented by a bobblehead. He already owns more than 300 and said he would send five additional bobbleheads to the winner of each auction.
“These charities need help right now and I want to get more people involved to raise awareness about the great work they do to help people who really need it,” Haren told The Athletic. “I can’t imagine not having a home right now, or not knowing where my next meal was coming from.”
The first batch of bobbleheads Haren has put up for auction include Hall of Famers such as Hank Aaron, Vladimir Guerrero, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter, Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas and Cy Young. Other players or managers include Barry Bonds, Matt Cain, Chris Carpenter, A.J. Ellis, Zack Greinke, Rich Harden, Davey Johnson, Jason Kendall, Clayton Kershaw, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Brian Roberts, Grady Sizemore, Nick Swisher, Kevin Youkilis, Michael Young and Barry Zito.
Haren said the note he attached to his Guerrero bobblehead said, “Hit him on purpose once. So glad he didn’t charge.” For Grienke, Haren wrote, “Will tell me selling my bobblehead collection is a dumb idea.” And the note that accompanies his Pujols bobblehead reads, “Once caught me playing Pokémon Go.”
All notes are handwritten and signed by Haren.
The eBay listing for Aaron notes that Haren once got the Hammer’s autograph, “and I lost the ball.” Haren wrote that he sees Jackson at the gym sometimes, “and I’m certain he can still beat me up.”
The bidding is for a good cause, but Haren said even people who don’t collect bobbleheads can help out.
“You don’t have to bid to contribute,” Haren told The Athletic. “Even just giving a couple of bucks to these charities or any charity in your hometown helps.”
The charities who will be helped by the auction — and who have already been helped by Haren — are more than grateful.
“(We are) awed and grateful for support from the incredible powerhouse Dan Haren,” Brandon Reim, director of development for Hollywood Food Coalition, told The Athletic. ‘Our clients keep asking us every day if we are going to be able to keep providing meals during the COVID-19 crisis, and we are working overtime to keep our doors open, feed them and also provide them information to keep them healthy and safe. This is a time for the community to come together and make sure everyone is safe, and we are so proud that Dan is helping us make that possible.”
Damita Curry, vice president of development and engagement for Children’s Action Alliance, agreed.
“We’re an independent voice for Arizona’s children. We’ve been working tirelessly to make sure legislators keep children and families at the forefront of their budgets during this crisis,” Curry told The Athletic. “When people like Dan take the time to donate money and raise awareness about what we do, it means the world to us.”
Haren’s auctions come as the World Health Organization confirmed there have been more than 416,800 cases of the coronavirus worldwide as of early Thursday. There have been more than 18,500 confirmed deaths.
“If this auction makes just one person laugh during this horrible time, it will have been worth it,” Haren said.
You can check out all of the bobbleheads Haren is selling here.