BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Trying to find an elusive treasure is a challenge for any dedicated collector. Being scarce and unique, the very qualities that make an item desirable, also make it harder to find. That search for one special figure recently led a Canadian baseball bobbleheads collector to Bluefield, W.Va. and the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
Dale McLeod of Kitchener, Ontario collects Toronto Blue Jays bobbleheads and all the bobbleheads their affiliate minor league teams – Vancouver Canadians, Buffalo Bisons, Dunedin Blue Jays, Lansing Lugnuts, New Hampshire Fisher Cats and Bluefield Blue Jays – offer to their fans.
“I’ve only been doing this for four years, and it all started when I went to a Toronto Blue Jays game and it was a bobbleheads giveaway day,” McLeod recalled. “That day it was the Roy Halladay bobblehead.”
This ignited a passion in McLeod, who describes himself as a sports enthusiast. He soon had enough bobbleheads to start several baseball teams.
“I have 235 pieces and growing weekly,” he said. “I collect all retail and stadium giveaways of the teams’ bobbleheads, figures and mini stadiums for the Toronto Blue Jays and their affiliate minor league teams.”
McLeod said the Toronto Blue Jays have told him that based on current knowledge, he has the largest Blue Jays bobblehead and figure collection. To save on shipping to Canada, he keeps a post office box in Buffalo, NY. It’s not unusual for him to pick up 20 packages at a time.
However, McLeod was having a hard time tracking down one especially elusive bobblehead, the one of Bluefield Baseball Club President George McGonagle.
On Dec. 6 2012, McGonagle was named the “2012 King of Baseball” at Baseball’s Winter Meeting in Nashville, Tenn. On Aug. 19, 2013, this honor was recognized when fans were offered George McGonagle bobbleheads wearing a crown and cape. A bat topped with a baseball is his royal scepter.
McLeod started his quest for a George McGonagle bobblehead in 2013 and soon learned getting one wouldn’t be easy. Searches on eBay and other web sites offered no leads, but then he saw a Bluefield Daily Telegraph sponsor plate on the Bluefield Blue Jays Facebook page and gave it a try. He was soon talking to Editor Samantha Perry.
Did she know where a George McGonagle bobblehead? She knew…