By BRIAN JENNINGS
Have you ever seen a large mass of bobbleheads in one place at one time? Local San Diegans’ Philip Gia and Jalena Lau have 600 of them—all representing Southington’s Chris Denorfia in a San Diego Padres uniform.
According to the homeowners of a University City condo, Gia and Lau said they heard a white suburban in the middle of the night back in early November of this year. Then they heard the crash of roughly 600 Chris Denorfia bobbleheads hitting the pavement right outside. Then the suburban was gone.
“We thought that it was from the drug cartel, but when we went through them, it was just regular bobbleheads,” Lau said in a video posted on MLB.com.
But why were these bobbleheads mysteriously dropped in front of their condo at night? And where did they come from? Gia and Lau thought that the bobbleheads might have been stolen, so they notified the police.
“I called their info line,” Gia said on the video interview. “I didn’t know if it qualified as an emergency, but the lady said it was the most interesting call she’s ever received.”
After calling the police to see if someone might have misplaced their 600 Denorfia bobbleheads, Gia and Lau were told to take the matter into their own hands.
“They were like, ‘I think that you guys should help out the HOA and just clean this up yourself,” Lau said on the video.
The pair said that they have never heard of Denorfia before finding his bobbleheads in the street. At one point, they had them arranged along the walls of Gia’s bedroom. Gia said that he gave some out as prizes at his work, shipped a few to old friends, and sometimes used them as a playhouse for their dog.
Denorfia is no longer with the Padres, leaving San Diego back in July 2014 when he was traded to the Seattle Mariners. He spent most of his professional career with the Padres, playing for the organization since 2010, but his 456 hits, 154 RBI’s, and 33 homeruns weren’t enough to attract an interest to his bobbleheads.
Denorfia is currently an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs, but he made his MLB debut with the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 7, 2005. He also played for the Oakland Athletics from 2008 to 2009.
In the 2015 season with the Cubs, Denorfia held a batting average of .269 with three homeruns, 18 RBIs, and an on-base percentage of .319. In his career, he holds a batting average of .272 with 41 homeruns, 196 RBIs, and an on-base percentage of .330.
Denorfia was born in Bristol, but grew up in Southington. He attended Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford. He played second base before having a growth spurt during his junior year at the age of 16.
After high school, he played Division III baseball for the Wheaton Lyons in Norton, Mass., where he transitioned from a shortstop to the outfield, hitting .467 his senior year. His batting average broke the school record at Wheaton and attracted scouts. He was selected by the Reds in the 19th round (pick 555) of the 2002 MLB Draft.
The bobbleheads are valued at approximately $20 apiece, but the entire collection is estimated to sell for $1,200 on eBay.