Hobby Musings: Tristar bringing variety for National’s autograph pavilion – The National Sports Collector’s Convention is less than a month away and Tristar Productions will once again be hosting the event’s autograph pavilion. The show being in Cleveland, the autograph guests have many of the city’s favorite sports sons. However, Tristar’s president Jeff Rosenberg was quick to point out the variety of this year’s lineup that goes well beyond Cleveland luminaries.
Perhaps first and foremost in this year’s autograph lineup is Angels player and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. With the Angels in town playing the Indians, the timing lined up well for Tristar to have him at the show. Despite a higher price tag than many of the show guests, Rosenberg revealed that Pujols is among the top three in advance autograph sales for this year’s show as of July 5th.
Adding more, he said, “It’s a very big deal for us to have him at this year’s National. I’m most excited personally and for collectors to be able to bring in Pujols. To me, that’s such a big deal because you get a guy who’s a current player and one of the greatest of his generation. I got a bunch of messages from people already asking for him. There’s a pent-up demand for a guy like Pujols who has accomplished so much. There are so many collectible aspects to him, including the 3,000 hit club and a Rookie of the Year award, that make him appealing to a wide variety of collectors.”
In addition to Pujols, Tristar has been able to book current Indians baseball stars in former two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and Francisco Lindor. Like Pujols, both players are in the top three for advance autograph ticket sales. Also like Pujols, the two represent rare gets for the National in current sports stars. Asked if Tristar has ever had current sports stars signing autographs at the National, Rosenberg admitted that it was not a frequent occurrence. He did recall though at the 2006 show in Anaheim, they had Reggie Bush in attendance coming off his Heisman year. “That was a really big draw for us,” said Rosenberg.
Besides those current stars, Tristar already has over 120 autograph guests scheduled for this year’s National with potentially more on the way. Baseball and football’s Hall of Famers will be well-represented this year with over 80 combined members appearing throughout the show. Speaking more on the importance of this, Rosenberg commented, “We have 52 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, including Jim Brown and several members of this year’s class. That’s an enormity that’s hard to imagine. All in one place over the course of a few days, it provides an incredible opportunity for collectors. It’s what helps draw people from all over the country and all over the world to the National.”
Highlighted by former Indians star Jim Thome, this year’s new Baseball Hall of Famers at the show will also include Alan Trammell and Jack Morris. According to Rosenberg, Thome has been a top advance autograph ticket seller along with Pujols, Lindor and Kluber. The company was also able to land recently-retired Browns OL and future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas. Speaking more on having him sign at the show, Rosenberg said, ‘It’s big to have Joe Thomas. He’s a standout star in Cleveland. Any time we can get guys like that who are big in the region and are more currently linked to the sports world, that’s a very big win for the show.”
After having Henry Winkler in Chicago last year, Tristar went to the pop culture well again for this year in Cleveland. Fans of the “Major League” film franchise will recognize Corbin Bernsen and Tom Berenger. Playing Roger Dorn and Jake Taylor respectively in the films, Rosenberg is expecting both to be big draws at the show. The Hanson Brothers and “I Dream of Jeannie” star Barbara Eden will also be in attendance. Elaborating on the importance of having guests like that at the show, Rosenberg said, “It just makes it fun for people who love movies and pop culture. It provides an opportunity for those who love sports and movies to combine their passions at the show.”
One popular autograph aspect of last year’s show in Chicago was the VIP packages. This year is promising to be even bigger on that front. According to Rosenberg, the VIP package ticket sales are 23% ahead of last year’s sales in Chicago as of July 5. They’re also 33% ahead of the last time the show was in Cleveland in 2014. VIP packages this year include free autograph guests comprising of 18 different athletes. The VIP autograph checklist this year includes former Bengals star Ickey Woods and former Indians Rookie of the Year Joe Charboneau. Mike Hargrove, Luis Tiant and Basketball Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy will also be signing autographs at the VIP party on Wednesday, as well as signing for show attendees on the show floor later that day.
Rosenberg did stress the importance of buying a VIP package or an autograph ticket early if you’re sure you want one. With the packages especially selling at such a proficient rate, there’s a possibility of being shut out if you wait until the show. For more information on the autograph lineup and ticket information at this year’s National, you can visit http://nsccshow.com/autograph-information/