'Star Wars' nights dominate MLB calendar: cllct ranks the 10 best

From bobbleheads to backpacks to a Millennium Falcon figurine, we list the best promos in the galaxy

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MLB teams got extremely creative with their "Star Wars" giveaway items for 2024.

Saturday marks the most important day in the galaxy.

May 4 is "Star Wars" Day, and this year is the 45th anniversary of the unofficial holiday (it has become official in some places, such as California, where lawmakers recognized it in 2019).

Obviously, its origins trace back to the phrase “may the force be with you," but the widespread nomenclature “may the 4th be with you” traces its roots to 1979, when Margaret Thatcher became Great Britain’s first female prime minister. That night, The London Evening News read, "May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations!"

And thus, a tradition was born. A tradition that now involves trilogy favorites such as Darth Vader and C-3PO making appearances at Major League Baseball games.

While theme nights have existed in baseball for years, for the better part of the last decade, "Star Wars" nights have been the most popular among MLB clubs. Other pop-culture phenomenons, which include: “Harry Potter," “Seinfeld," “Friends" and Marvel all rank behind George Lucas' sci-fi film series.

Cllct sifted through the promos for every MLB team this season to find the number of appearances for different theme nights. "Harry Potter" nights were the second-most popular pop-culture theme nights among the 30 clubs, with 14 hosting games to honor Hogwarts’ most famous wizard.

(Related story: 'Star Wars' merchandise a phenomenon bigger than the movies)

In comparison, 26 teams are holding "Star Wars" nights this season, with four hosting entire weekends devoted to the movie saga. At this point, all 30 franchises have hosted a “Star Wars” night in their history.

Common themes on these nights include fireworks, giveaways, people dressed up in costume for photos with fans (and sometimes even players, too).

Cllct is "staying on target" as we rank the top 10 "Star Wars" promotions this MLB season.

1. Boston Red Sox: "Mandalorian" jersey and jetpack backpack

When I wrote about the best promos from each team in MLB this season, I said the Dodgers easily had the best “Star Wars” promotion this season. I was wrong.

While I think the Dodgers have the best individual piece, Boston came over the top with the amount of merchandise that fans received for its April 30 game.

The jersey design is top-notch, and the detachable cape isn’t too shabby either. If fans were only able to receive the jersey and cape, it would still be in the top 10, but adding in a jetpack backpack (in the VIP package) is a huge bonus.

If I was still a kid, I would be rocking this jersey and backpack until they came apart at the seams. Kudos to the Red Sox for an awesome promo.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers: Millennium Falcon figurine

This is the most creative "Star Wars" promotion in all of baseball this season. Other teams, as you’ll read, chose costumed bobbleheads or T-shirts or hats. The Dodgers went all out for their promo for Monday night's game against Miami, with the Millennium Falcon flying over Dodger Stadium.

The only reason the Red Sox take the top spot is because their jersey was a free item, in addition to the backpack for purchase. I don’t know if it can make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs given L.A.’s disastrous traffic — but fans will certainly be lining up for this collectible.

3. Cleveland Guardians: "Obi-Kwan Kenobi" bobblehead

This is the bobblehead you’re looking for. Steven Kwan has been having a remarkable season thus far, and the Guardians are promoting him with a bobblehead to boot for Saturday's game against the Angels.

Kwan is dressed in Obi-Wan's grab, wielding his blue lightsaber and rocking a Guardians helmet. It’s not quite as unique as the Millenium Falcon, but nothing else is. This is the best of the bobbleheads and is certainly a strong collector’s item. Plus, I love a good pun.

4. San Diego Padres: "Nando Calrissian" bobblehead

This bobblehead is just as good as the "Obi-Kwan Kenobi" bobblehead, but the tiebreaker goes to the record. The Guardians have the best record in the AL, and the Padres are below .500.

Fernando Tatis Jr., though, continues to swing a big bat and ranks as one of the flashiest players in all of baseball, much like Lando Calrissian in “Star Wars."

If the bobblehead came with a game of sabacc for San Diego's July 7 game against Arizona, there’d be zero doubt it’d be the best promo in all the galaxy, but without it, “Nando” checks in at No. 4.

5. Los Angeles Angels: "Mandalorian" Rally Monkey

For those who don’t know, the Rally Monkey has been a fixture at Angels games for the last 20 seasons. In 2000, the team showed a video with a monkey jumping up and down along with a clip from Jim Carrey’s "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” calling it a “Rally Monkey” on the scoreboard. The Angels then had a ninth-inning, come-from-behind victory.

Combining the fan-favorite Rally Monkey with latest success in the "Star Wars" series, “The Mandalorian," the Angels had themselves quite the collectible catch for this April 27 giveaway.

6. Washington Nationals: X-Wing pilot Finnegan bobblehead

Pilot Finnegan looks great. As a “Star Wars” junkie, myself, the X-Wing suit looks perfect, and he looks ready to shoot down some TIE fighters. Extra credit to the design on the box depicting the real Kyle Finnegan in pilot garb as well.

Finnegan has been stellar out of the bullpen to start this year, perhaps Pilot Finnegan can save the Nationals’ lackluster start to the season and bring good luck for this giveaway for Saturday's game against Toronto.

7. San Francisco Giants: Yoda Hat and VIP item to be announced later

San Francisco has the potential to skyrocket up this list depending on what the VIP collectible item is. For now, we will have to just work with the Yoda hat, which still cements the Giants in the top 10.

The green SF logo with the ears on the side of the hat will make for some adorable photos, and while it might not be the best “collector’s item," it might be the most memorable for fans attending the Aug. 11 game against Detroit.

8. Pittsburgh Pirates: Mitch Keller jedi bobblehead and Pirates "Star Wars" shirt

If the Mitch Keller jedi bobblehead was alone, without the shirt, it would not have cracked the top 10. But including the shirt as a purchase add-on for Saturday's game against Colorado brings it up to the No. 8 slot.

The bobblehead itself is plain, with Keller wearing a jedi robe and a Pirates hat, while wielding a yellow lightsaber. This is where the nerd comes out. Yellow lightsabers are for members of the temple guard, those who defend the Jedi Temple — but they don’t wear jedi robes. They have their own unique robes. So, the historical accuracy (if you can call it that), is questionable at best.

Now that that’s over, the shirt is nice, with the "Star Wars" logo and Yoda’s face littered throughout.

9. Seattle Mariners: “Dark Side” button-up shirt

It’s an interesting choice by Seattle to focus on the “dark side." Do the Mariners see themselves as the villains of the AL West? I think that title still belongs to the Astros.

Regardless, the shirt is well-done, featuring photos of Darth Vader, stormtroopers, TIE fighters and the Death Star, and fans can pick up at the June 12 game against the White Sox.

10. Kansas City Royals: Jedi Bobby Witt Jr. bobblehead

So, I’m not sure what is going on here. The design is great, perhaps one of the best of any bobblehead from a strictly aesthetic standpoint. But Witt seems to be wearing stormtrooper armor with a blue jedi robe. There’s not a lot of consistency.

Maybe the K.C. phenom is supposed to be a jedi in partial disguise, as we saw Luke Skywalker do so in Episode IV, as well as Obi-Wan and Anakin several times throughout “Clone Wars." I’m going to give the Royals the benefit of the doubt here.

Fans can pick up this one for Saturday's game against Texas.

Matt Liberman is a reporter and video producer for cllct.