BOBBLEHEAD COLLECTION RECEIVES NOD OF APPROVAL
BY JOE DESALVO
12 Port St. Lucie Magazine
St. Lucie Mets General Manager Traer Van Allen, standing next to his personal 850-piece bobblehead collection on display at the Mets’ offices.
Never mind stamps or coins. St.
Lucie Mets General Manager
Traer Van Allen’s colorful collection
of 850 bobbleheads will make your
head, er, shake in amazement.
A glass cabinet with figurines with
large heads mounted on a spring so that
it bobs up and down takes an entire wall
in the main hallway of the staff offices at
“Our maintenance manager, Jeff
Montpetit, did a tremendous job,” said
Van Allen, taking a quick break from
spring-training preparations to show off
his passion for all things bobbleheads.
“He has a real artistic eye, let alone a
skilled maintenance guy. He saw the
space and he and I talked about it and
he said, ‘Let me come up with a couple
of ideas here.’ He put a pen-to-paper
kind of thing together and built what we
The locked cabinet was completed
in 2020. The collection, though, started
back in 2001, soon after Van Allen joined
the Single-A Florida State League team as
director of sales.
“New in the industry, I was an excited,
young and eager guy, happy to collect
stuff,” Van Allen said. “And, no, it never
intended to turn into what it is now. It
could have gone the path of collecting
mini-bats or lapel pins or whatever. It
just happened to be bobbleheads was
the direction it went and I’m glad it did.
It’s become a nice showcase here at the
And has the cabinet reached full
“We’re up to 850 now, so we’ll see
how much we can push that,” said Van
Allen, who was promoted to general
manager in 2013. “I’d love to see it get
to 1,000. We’ll have to then assess it and
maybe move it out to another area.’’
Van Allen says about 80% of the
bobbleheads are baseball-related, “with
a handful of football, basketball and
some nonathletes mixed in.’’
Surprisingly, Van Allen’s first bobblehead
was one of Pro Football Hall of
Famer Joe Montana of the San Francisco
49ers. The native Californian obtained it
at a trade show more than 22 years ago.
That’s the reason it’s placed on a pedestal
inside the showcase.
Not surprisingly, about half of the collection
is Met-related. And those bobbleheads
can be found in the middle as a
Does he have a favorite?
“I mean, it’s hard to go against ‘The
Captain,’ David Wright. But, I will say
even ones like of Marylou Kolodziejczak,
whom we refer to her as our All-Star, she
literally does or has done everything at
the complex, and Jay Horwitz the Mets’
longtime media relations executive
because of how special those people are.
They’ll always be personal favorites.’’
Among the nonathletes in the collection
is one from television fame.
“I love the little Seinfeld subgroup
that I have there,’’ Van Allen said. “I
think I’m up to about a dozen Seinfeldthemed
bobbleheads, most of which
have come from one of our minor league
clubs, the Brooklyn Cyclones. They do
a very popular Seinfeld-themed night
His latest acquisition is that of Mets
ace right-hander Max Scherzer. He secured
it as part of a stash of bobbleheads
given out last year at Citi Field.
How many bobblehead promotions
will the Mets have this season?
“Not enough as far as I’m concerned,”
he said laughing. “It seems like four or
five. I always keep my eyes peeled for
when they make those announcements.’’
And, as for the St. Lucie Mets, they’re
haven’t yet announced dates of their own
However, Van Allen says there is one
slated for the Cardinals-Mets spring training
game on Saturday, March 25; game
time is 6:10 p.m. A Florida ‘Mr. Met,’
decked out in his Floridian garb, will be
given away, compliments of longtime
sponsor Solomon Urology.’’
Count on Van Allen having the urge to
add it to his collection soon afterward. E
BY JOE DESALVO