Collectible of the Week: 2004 Starting Rotation Nesting Dolls

Phillies 2004 SGA -
Starting Rotation Nesting Dolls

Russian nesting doll giveaways were a trend of the mid-2000's across Major League Baseball.  Billed the heir-apparent to the bobble-head as the stadium giveaway of choice, almost every team had at least one promotion featuring them during this time.   For anyone unfamiliar with the product, nesting dolls are a series of hollowed out, bowling pin shaped figurines that vary in size and fit within each other.  Traditionally, the figurines featured the images of peasant women, but for the sports-themed promotions, they bore the likeness of popular athletes.

The Phillies, facing the challenge to fill an empty Veterans Stadium/Citizens Bank Park 81 nights of the summer, jumped on board the budding trend during the 2003 and 2004 season's adding three separate sets to their promotional schedules.  The first set (SGA - 8/17/03) featured hitting stars Jim Thome, Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu.  Solid feedback to the first set (as mentioned in this archived article) led to two additional sets being handed out in 2004 - Phatatic set (5/23) and this week's spotlight collectible - "Starting Rotation" set (5/31) featuring Kevin Millwood, Randy Wolf, Vincente Padilla, Eric Milton and Brett Myers.

The dolls had a nice run, but obviously did not live up to expectations with fans and collectors alike.  Ultimately, I think it is their inability to be easily displayed (and, not lingering anti-Russian sentiment) that can be blamed for their failure.

Product details:

SGA Date - May 31, 2004
Produced by - (as best as I can tell, but let me know if you know better)
Production run - 20,000
Sponsored by - Motrin IB
Featured players - Kevin Millwood, Randy Wolf, Vincente Padilla, Eric Milton and Brett Myers

A look at all three sets from