The Bobblehead Hustle – Guest Blog From Uncle Rico a.k.a. Bobbles Jim a.k.a. Gobbles Jim.

“Long time listener, first time caller!”

Hi everyone, Uncle Rico here with my first blog for the 108.  I met the 108’ers through MSS several years ago. Our love and obsession for bobbleheads and the White Sox is ultimately how we became friends.  This was also around the time when the Section 108 blogs, twitter, Sunday Soaks, etc. started as well. I don’t wanna take credit but…..

MSS, Mr. Hand, Me and my buddy (and contribution to the 108) Wally $. #RIPIP Baderbrau.

During Spring Training, MSS in his infinite quest to exploit everyone associated with the 108, asked me to write a blog on how I got started collecting bobbleheads.  My first thoughts were, “No one is going to read this and I have no idea what to write.” Nonetheless, here goes…

When I was younger I was a huge baseball, basketball and football card collector.  Like most kids growing up in the 80s and 90s, I wasted so much of my allowance on cards.  Looking back on it, we were all duped that these pieces of cardboard would be worth hundreds of dollars when we were older (obviously due to over production, that was not the case).  That future uncertainty is what initially kept me away from the bobble game, not to mention my OCD to complete collections…

Fast forward to May 27, 2007… our White Sox were playing at home vs the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  My buddies wanted to go to that game because there was an Ozzie Guillen bobblehead giveaway.  At first I didn’t want to keep this “doll” because I knew my history and OCD with collecting things, but sure enough, I kept it.  This would become the first of many bobbleheads that I would collect…

Then came my birthday on September 16, 2007.  My pops joined me for a game that afternoon vs the L.A. Angels of Anaheim, California.  Not only was it my b-day, it was also Jim Thome bobblehead day.  That day became even more special when Senor Thome crushed a walk-off homer to win the game, which was also his 500th career home run.  Needless to say, that bobblehead will never leave my possession.  

After those two games is when I was hooked and the OCD started kicking in.  I became obsessed with finding all of the older bobbles and started posting on message boards (WSI and “The Bobbleboard” on Yuku).  Unknown to me until many years later, MSS was also on these boards and also following my posts, especially the Sox list I compiled on WSI.  It’s hilarious to me how many White Sox collectors have referred back to that list when trying to complete their collections. I had no idea it would be that helpful.

Posting on message boards morphed into searching on eBay, Facebook groups and thrift stores.  That is around the time MSS and I started chatting on FB and eventually realizing we were both on the old message boards.

One day MSS came into possession of an extra Greg Walker bobble and agreed to sell it to me. As weird as it is, meeting MSS is the first time I met someone in person that I met online LOL.  He was gentle and offered some chicken wings after our transaction, so nice of him. He didn’t even call me a pussy for not drinking a beer.

During my pursuit of a complete collection, I’ve had some ups and downs and big mistake that could’ve been worse.  

  • I once got scammed into buying some “prototype” bobbleheads that I later saw at the stadium gift shop for considerably less money. (Fuck that guy. For real.)
  • Several times I scored with cheap prices on bobbleheads that I was able to flip for five times of what I paid.
  • I once fat fingered an eBay bid by bidding $2000 when I meant to put $200.  Ended up winning the auction for $450. Since then, I have only seen that bobblehead one other time as it is has become a holy grail for White Sox collectors.

All that being said, you need to be careful and smart when collecting anything.  The internet is your friend for researching. Sometimes though, you need to take a chance when an opportunity is there, because you may never see it again. But if you see them all over eBay, just wait it out. Many times the prices will go down.

I eventually found all of the past bobbleheads I was missing and now have a complete set for team-issued White Sox bobbleheads.  No idea how much this collection is worth, but I can tell you it has been very fun collecting and definitely rewarding. Thankfully, Mrs. Rico has been supportive of this obsession and allows me to keep them on display.

If you are a collector and need a check list for Chicago teams, check out this link that the Chicago Bobbleheads FB group put together.  Good Luck and Bobble On!

– Uncle Rico

Thanks to Uncle Rico for this blog! I gave him a quick 10 questions about the bobbleheads!

1. Favorite Bobble You Own
2007 Jim Thome, special day (500th HR and my b-day).

2. Best marker/ paint pen / location to get your bobbles signed.
Deco Ultra Fine Point for sure. Typically the side of the helmet, however, I prefer the base if it is flat. Rough surfaces do NOT sign well.

3. Does an autograph devalue the bobble?
This is a long time debate from the old Yuku message board. I personally
feel it’s “eye of the beholder.”  I like getting them signed because I’m
going to display them and don’t have a lot of room for additional
baseballs, etc. A lot of the old timers feel it devalues the bobble, but let’s
be honest, a lot of them are scammers too and only buy to resell. A wholeother debate is does the original box matter in the value?  I’ve seen $100
swings in prices because of the box being with the bobble or not being
with it.

4. Explain the difference between Retail and SGA.
“Retail” is a bobble purchased at the store or online. They are massed produced and over priced in my opinion. “SGA” is a stadium giveaway, they
are limited and more special in my opinion. Interpretation of SGA can bestretched to “team issued” as well… a.k.a. season ticket holder gifts,
SoxFest releases, Kids Club, Fantasy Camp and White Sox Charity

5. What do you think will happen to your collection after you move
I sure hope they still have some value so my kids can sell them off for some funds. If not, then split up between my kids to remember me. We aremoving to AZ in a few years for work and I’m very hopeful they all make
the trip without being broken or lost. It’s crossed my mind to sell them offbefore the move since I won’t be around to get the new ones, but I highlydoubt that will happen. Plus, MSS and Wally$ will be my sources for the
ones I miss. Ha.

6. Checklist items to take to a bobblehead game.
Pretty simple, get in line early, bring multiple tickets if looking to stock
up and a backpack (or Ikea bags if you are MSS).

7. What do you use to display your bobbles?
Ikea Billy Bookcase is the only way to go.

8. Save the box or no box?
I save the box and have 3 big plastic bins filled with them in my attic.
I have 2 bins on reserve for future bobbles.

9. Bobbleheads are a giveaway.  But are they free?
Good question! It’s even been debated in the Ohio court systems recently
too. They are free, but they aren’t. Sponsors paid to have their logo on the giveaway and therefore, it’s a free item when you enter the park.
However, you do need a ticket to get one. Resellers will say that it’s not
free because you also have to pay for gas to get to the stadium, parking,
ticket, person’s time, etc. I see both arguments, but I’m not typically reselling, unless Mrs Rico joins me for the game.

10. Hardest SGA that you were sure you weren’t gonna get but ended up getting?
Well, I’ve never missed out on a SGA that I went to the game for. Partly because I make sure to get there very early. This year I’m pretty nervous
about the 50 check in prize as I won’t be there that many games this
season. I’ll have to cross my fingers for the twitter machine or a future
garage sale.

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