This was my first time set up at the summer Sports Spectacular. I've gone as a customer and always thought it was a lousy show because there were not a whole lot of dealers and customers. However, after having a great show at the March Sports Spectacular, I decided to give this one a try. My expectations were low.
The Sports Spectacular started for me on Tuesday night when I loaded 11 display cases and my cart into my wife's car. I loaded my cards into the car on Wednesday morning then went to work. I arrived at the Stephens Convention Center around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday for early set up.
The show was located on the ground floor in the space across the lobby from where the National is normally held. I was able to drive my car right into the show room and park. This was probably my easiest load into a Stephens Center show ever.
Boothmates PJ and Kevin were already there setting up. Dealer set up began at 2 p.m. on Wednesday and we were one of the few dealers at the early set up. We decided to set up our tables in an upside-down W. I was able to get out all 11 display cases. Normally, I would have sat there for an hour or so and loaded up the display cases, but it was a steam bath inside and outside the convention center. I could not take the heat and humidity and called it a day at about 3:30 p.m.
On the first day of the show on Thursday, I arrived around 11 a.m. after going into work earlier that morning. Thankfully, it was not quite as hot inside the venue as Wednesday, and I was able to load all the display cases with cards in relative comfort.
Dave beat us all there on Thursday and picked out a spot at the end of PJ's section of our booths. Kevin was located at the far end of our booths and had an interesting array of stuff. He bought out a dealer from Tennessee at the March Sports Spectacular and had just an odd array of singles, supplies, photos and T-shirts.
I bought a stack of postcard sleeves that he was only selling for a buck per pack. I think I paid five bucks a pack at the Strongsville show. He also had a stack of 1989 Chicago Cubs Division Champions bumper stickers that he sold to me ridiculously cheap.
PJ had the middle section and filled it with binders and display cases. He seemed to be doing a brisk business on the first day.
The show opened to VIP's at 1 p.m. which was an absolute waste of time. Hardly any VIP's roamed the room and sales were few and far between. We basically just sat around until 3 p.m. when the general admissions were allowed in. Still the crowd was light, but I was able to make some sales.
One customer came by three or four times before he purchased three 1933 Goudeys. I sold a couple of 1934 Goudeys to another customer. I saw Scott and met his son Brandon. They purchased my 1950 Bowman Vic Raschi which I had just priced before the show.
A customer from Highland Park, Illinois, purchased a bunch of 1957 Topps football cards. A couple of guys who bought from me back in March, purchased some cards again. One guy flew in again from Los Angeles. He is a reseller and was looking for cards he could flip. He found a few to his liking. The other guy was from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and is working on a bunch of football sets. He purchased a few 1955 Topps All Americans.
I had a few guys from Cleveland working on some Browns team sets. I was able to add a few cards to their collections.
The buyer of the day was JD, a dealer from Indiana, who purchased a large pile of stuff. Thanks JD! Without him, it would have been a rough first day. I seemed to sit around a lot. The show kind of dragged.
Though, I ran into a bunch of good friends. Like Jim Z., the other Jim, and Al from Milwaukee. Jim called and asked if I could get him in the show. He called during one of the rare moments I was helping customers. He later found an unattended door and just walked in.
Al is having hip surgery and the guys won't be traveling to the National, a rare miss for Jim Z., who has attended almost all of the Nationals.
I was really happy to see old friend Larry Burger, who I only see at the big shows these days. Back in the day when I was setting up weekly with Fred Copp, Larry was at most of those shows. He bought my T206 Cobb years ago and said the card is doing just fine in his collection. He told me he is focusing more on autographs these days than cards.
Larry went to college with the show's founder George Johnson and they played on the Elmhurst College baseball team together. Larry still plays in a 55-plus league. George was set up down the aisle. He bought a 1961 Topps Ron Santo rookie from me and I thanked him for treating me so well back in the day.
Derrick and his wife were set up behind me. They set up at my Oak Creek show and said they did really well at the Spectacular. They were only set up on Thursday, filling in for a friend who originally purchased the tables. I guess the friend was unable to set up. His tables sat empty the rest of the show.
I observed that there were quite a few empty tables. The spot next to me was empty. On the other side of the empty table was Andrew, who sets up at my Oak Creek show and sells Pokémon. Behind us was Greg from Milwaukee who has set up at my show in the past. He operates a card shop so it is difficult for him to get Saturdays off to set up at my show. Next to Greg was a young guy who arrived rather late each day. Next to the young guy was Mitch who runs the Schererville, Indiana, show and also has a shop out there. Nice guy. I had set up at his very first show and have been unable to make it back out there.
He told me that one of his high school teachers was Jim from the Orland show. He also said Jim was his high school wrestling coach. Mitch said Jim was the best teacher. I can believe it.
I saw a few other people I know like Derek from Orland and Mike S. But I was surprised I did not see more people I knew. A couple of guys recognized me from the Madison show but I hardly saw anyone I knew from Milwaukee, Rockford and Orland. Where were you guys?
On the buying front, I picked up two 1966 Topps Mickey Mantles, a 1967 Topps Mantle, a 1968 Topps Mantle, a 1965 Topps Home Run Leaders with Mantle, a 1957 Topps Don Drysdale and a 1970 Topps Roberto Clemente from Junior. Those cards cost a pretty penny and I lost my interest in buying any more cards after that purchase.
Now for the "Stranger Things" portion of the blog. I don't know why but I always see some strange shite at these Rosemont shows. There is this one crazy guy who only comes to this show and will talk your ear off with weird stuff and want everything at a deep, deep discount.
He avoided my booth because I did not have any cheapy stuff. PJ, on the other hand, had to deal with him all weekend. He loved PJs binders. Though, one day he did pull out a bunch of cards only to refuse to buy them once he learned the price. I can't stand this guy and have seen him for years. He told me in the past that he does not own a car and only attends the shows in Rosemont because he can get there via the "L" train.
But even weirder than this guy, were two guys wearing wigs and fake mustaches. They were drinking heavily and acting real goofy. They freaked me out. Why wear a disguise to the show? Who does that?
I think I was the only one disturbed by them. No one else seemed to care that these guys were wearing wigs and fake mustaches. I am still freaked out. That was quite abby normal.
Not much else to report from that first day. Business was generally slow. Attendance was low. I was surprised at the large number of dealers. There were more dealers than I had ever seen at the summer show.
As I said, the day really dragged on. Having the show end at 8 p.m. is way too late. It should end at 6 p.m.
I did enjoy sitting around with Dave, PJ and Kevin. I know Kevin from my Oak Creek show. He regularly sets up with Tom D. He had some great stories from fishing to hanging out with former Major Leaguer Larry Hisle.
We were all beat by the end of the day. Dave took off first around 7:30 p.m. I hit the road home around 8 p.m. PJ and Kevin took off shortly after I went home where I ordered a few pizzas. I Tried to watch TV with my wife and kids but fell asleep early.
That is about all from Day 1. Day 2 blog coming soon!
Pictured below is my view of the dull scene from Day 1 of the summer Sports Spectacular. PJ's display cases are located on the left. My display cases are on the right and saw nothing but crickets most of that first day.