Sunday, June 4, 2017

Jim Palmer Returns!!

This is definitely another 'white whale' story. 

The bobblehead below is a S.A.M. Jim Palmer which I picked up last week on eBay. Opening it and putting it on the shelf was a satisfying moment due to the backstory of this thing.

In 1995 or so I was at a big Houston memorabilia show and came across a dealer with lots of display items including many of these high quality SAM bobbleheads. I immediately spotted both the Brooks Robinson and the Jim Palmer. Having named my sons for the two Orioles stars I knew these would be great display items for them. I plunked down more money than I had allocated for the entire show and headed out the door. I don't remember what these things ran but I know it came to almost a hundred dollars total.

These SAM (Sports Accessories Memorabilia) dolls are high quality. They are made of porcelain rather than the usual paper mâché. The two of them were the only items I had on display in the main area of our house. They sat on my desk which then was in our living room and were greatly admired by one and all.

That is until the day a few years later when my nine-year-old James somehow knocked the Palmer bobble off the desk and it shattered into a gazillion pieces. It was one of those moments when you want to reassure your kid that it's not a big deal and you're not really upset with him. But that's a lie. I was sick about it although I managed to (mostly) keep that to myself.

At that point I began looking HARD at shows and in the hobby periodicals for a replacement Palmer bobble. I soon discovered that the Palmer was extremely rare and very expensive when I did find one. These babies were no longer being made and the best I was going to be able to do was pay an exorbitant price on eBay or be happy with some alternate Palmer bobbleheads. After a few years of searching and hoping I gave up.

I still had this guy though:

Then a few weeks back I was rearranging my shelves while listening to the Orioles TV broadcast and heard Jim Palmer mention a Zach Britton bobblehead promotion and I was again reminded of what I needed for my shelves. I found a listing not long afterwards with the expected high price but with a 'Best Offer' option. After a few offers and counteroffers I made the purchase. I then found out through an email from the seller that she was Jim Palmer's ex- and back in 1991 she had a hand in designing/approving the bobble. 

JP showed up as promised this past week joining his old friend Brooks after a nearly two decade separation. Ms. Palmer included a signed LOA (LOL) stating that this was part of the shipment she and Jim received and it came from her personal collection. Here they are...reunited and it feels so good. 

Yes, this is a gold base Palmer. My original was a red base similar to the Brooksie but who am I to quibble? A bit of research shows that both carry similar price tags.

Above is a look at what my 'feature' bobble shelf looks like now. JP 'bumped' one of my Koufax dolls over a shelf.

Just because I was taking pics I'll include a few here of what some of my display shelves look like. Please ignore the fact that there are at least three four different styles of shelves. That's what happens when you ignore your wife's advise and buy stuff piecemeal.

Late edit: I switched to a smaller size for these pix so the don't run off the margins of the blog text box. You can click them to enlarge.

And I'll label the items here:

Above pic, left side: Vin Scully, Koufax, Brooks, Cal Jr, another Brooks with his Gold Gloves, Guy Lewis, Frank Robinson, Johnny U, Palmer, Houston Cougar mascot.

Above pic, top right shelf: Brooks fielding statuette, Astros Silver Boot series giveaway, LBJ, Rangers mini Stanley Cup, another Koufax, Brooks Baltimore city statue replica, Ron Kittle.

Above pic, lower right shelf: Jim Nantz, Lil Red the Nebraska mascot, Billy Pierce Comiskey statue replica,  Eddie Giacomin signed puck, Elvin Hayes, a Japanese bobble my daughter brought from Tokyo, Bob Boone signed ball.

Above pic, left side: Orioles/Colts glassware above Starbucks You Are Here series mugs (all but the San Diego mug is from a visit to that particular city).

On the right on top are the bronze retired Orioles statue replicas and a Chuck Thompson bobble.

Below are more Starbucks mugs.

Bottom shelf has Guy Lewis, Orioles Bird for 2015 trip to OPACY, Astrodome replica, James Harden, Barack Obama, Robertson Stadium (UH's old campus home) Elvin again and Henrik Lundqvist hiding behind a Rangers' 90th season patch.


  1. Neat collection! And the different shelves really add character to the room, if they were all the same, it would look a lot less interesting.

  2. Matching or not, those shelves look great! So do the bobbleheads. Awesome collectibles, and great that you were able to track down a Palmer after all these years!

  3. I love a happy ending... Congrats on acquiring that white whale of a bobblehead!