On Location: Inside The Pro Football Hall of Fame – Canton, OH

Over the weekend I took a trip to Canton, Ohio and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  I first visited back in 1998.  That year, guys like Paul Krause and Anthony Munoz got inducted.  It was also the year Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were neck and neck in the single season home run race.

Going through the Hall of Fame is a blast!!!  They’ve really changed a lot since the last time I was there.  Right after buying your tickets to get in, you’re greeted by a photographer who will take your picture in front of a green screen.  When you’re finished touring the museum, you can stop and see your pictures before leaving.  They put a whole photo package together for you.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the holy land for any football fan.  You can sit there and open every high-end football card product on the market today, and it will never come close to the fun stuff you see inside this place.  All the way from professional football’s 1892 birth certificate to memorabilia used by players today.  The Hall of Fame covers everything.

Its difficult to pick what parts of the Hall of Fame are my favorite.  Every corner I turned there was another priceless artifact.  The older memorabilia fascinates me the most.  Mainly because its a miracle that its still around.  The Hall of Fame Gallery filled with all of the inductee busts is really cool too.  That was dramatically better looking than what I remember it being.  But if I had to pick one artifact to be my personal favorite, it would probably be the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The gift shop is massive and contains every NFL themed item you could possibly think of.  I bought three new pins, lanyard, golf shirt, and a Hall of Fame mini helmet.  I also ate lunch at the Hall of Fame Cafe.  They serve lots of stuff from hot dogs and hamburgers to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

Take a look!!!

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Pro Football’s Birth Certificate – this is an expense sheet from the Allegheny Athletic Association dated November 12, 1892.  The “game performance bonus to W. Heffelfinger for playing (cash) $500.00” is the earliest evidence of someone being paid to play football.

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Jim Thorpe’s Carlisle Indians Letterman Sweater.

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(Top Middle) Arnie Herber’s sideline coat, (Top Left) Butch Gibson’s 1934 N.Y. Giants jersey, (Top Right) “Wooky” Roberts Canton Bulldogs jersey.  Also seen in this picture is the helmet worn by Link Lyman in the 1934 NFL Championship Game, game ball signed by the 1925 N.Y. Giants, and coach’s cap worn by Redskins founder-owner George Preston Marshall.

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Jerseys of Bob Waterfield #7, Bronko Nagurski #3, and Sid Luckman #42.

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Jerseys of Johnny Unitas #19 and Doak Walker #37.

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Jerseys of Jim Brown #32, Lance Alworth’s AFL All-Star jersey #19 , and Sonny Jurgensen #9.  Helmets of Dick Butkus (left), and Tommy Nobis (right).

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Jerseys of Peyton Manning #18, Reggie White #92, and Tony Gonzalez #88.  Shoulder pads of Cortez Kennedy and college helmet of Larry Allen.

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Tim Tebow jersey – this jersey was worn during the playoff win over the Steelers in 2012.  Tebow threw an 80-yard bomb to win the game 29-23.

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Miami Dolphins Perfect Season.

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The “Immaculate Reception” Turf – Franco Harris removed this piece of turf at the exact spot where the “Immaculate Reception” took place in Three Rivers Stadium.

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Toys!!!

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The inaugural Hall of Fame class from 1963.

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Jim Thorpe

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Vince Lombardi

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O.J. Simpson

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Mike Ditka

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Dan Marino

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John Madden

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Team Postcards – (Left) 1911 Nutshell Tigers of Canton, (Right) Game action from a 1900 game.

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World Football League football – they didn’t make it.

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United States Football League football – they didn’t make it either 🙂

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Player bench from the last game Vince Lombardi coached at Lambeau Field.  Green Bay, Dec. 31, 1967.

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LeSean McCoy wore this jersey, gloves, and cleats in a game against the Lions in Dec. 2013.  On that day, in blizzard conditions, McCoy ran for 217 yards setting a new franchise record.

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Vince Lombardi Trophy

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Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XLIII ring.

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“I’m ready to go in coach, just give me a chance.  I know there’s a lot riding on it, but it’s all psychological.  Just gotta stay in a positive frame of mind.” – Ace Ventura

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The 35th National: Day #2

Day #2 of the 35th National was a fun one.  Then again, everyday at the National is fun.  I participated in promos from Upper Deck and Topps, then took some time to check out some of the many dealers found outside of the Corporate Area.  I even seemed to pull a little MOJO!

Here are the major highlights of the day for me.
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Diamond Stars paintings of “Cards That Never Were” – Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

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Van Mungo and Billy Werber Diamond Stars cards.

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Frank Crosetti Diamond Stars.

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1927 World Series (New York Yankees) Press Pin

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1902 Pittsburgh Pirates National League Championship Lapel Pin

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Dennis Rodman

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1992 Donruss Diamond Kings Supers.  This auction house had a complete set on display.  Only 10 sets are known to exist.

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I purchased 15 packs of 2014 Topps Baseball and took them over to the Topps booth.  In return I got 6 Allen & Ginter minis – (2) Jim Brown, Johnny Manziel, Mike Trout, Jadeveon Clowney, and Derek Jeter.

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Upper Deck started their wrapper redemption program this morning at 10:25 a.m.  Today’s promo cards were of Jack Nicklaus, Joc Pederson, Johnny Manziel, Archie Griffin, and Wayne Gretzky.  I also got one of those Magic Johnson Amazon.com cards.  Wait until you see what I got in the pack I needed to open in order to get these.

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In order to get my Upper Deck wrapper redemption pack today, I decided to open a pack of 2014 Upper Deck SP Game-Used Edition Golf.  Inside the pack was this Jack Nicklaus Inked Fabrics Shirt/Auto #’ed/10.  I also pulled a Nancy Lopez Tour Gear Dual Shirt #’ed/35.

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The 35th National Has Begun!

Its official.  The 35th National Sports Collectors Convention has begun.  Autographs, cards, and promos are flying all over the place.  Every single collector in the world should be in Cleveland right now.

I arrived in plenty of time to obtain my VIP and Guest/Media credentials.  Then off to the VIP Party I went.  After eating some pizza and a cookie, the show opened to VIPs at 3:30pm.  Take a look!

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7x All-Star Dale Murphy signing at the Freedom Cardboard booth.

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Now for the pickups.  While waiting in line for Dale Murphy, I just happened to be standing next to the Topps booth.  I decided to pickup a box of 2014 Topps Minis.  With every purchase of a Topps Minis box, you get a jumbo card made just for the show.  I picked Mike Trout.

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These OYO minifigures were actually the first promos I got upon entering the show.

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I stopped by Marty’s Sports Card Exchange and bought a box of 2014 Allen & Ginter.  The I went to Blowout Cards and bought another just so I could get the Johnny Manziel Beckett Cover card.  Both boxes were unwrapped at the Topps booth and I got my Abreu and Tanaka exclusive National mini promos.  I still need to go through my boxes to see what I got.

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Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig Dual Signed Baseball To Be Given Away During The 2014 National

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We’re only a few hours into the New Year, but its never too early to talk about an event taking place during the next National.

Prospect collectors looking to bust something non-card related might want to check out Onyx Authenticated’s newest product that arrives later this month.  2014 Onyx Authenticated Premiere Gear will come with (1) authentic game-used piece of baseball memorabilia per box.  This just won’t be a small portion of memorabilia like you would find in a card, its the whole thing – caps, jerseys, cleats, fielding gloves, batting helmets, and catchers gear.

The checklist includes pieces of memorabilia from:

  • Byron Buxton
  • Jabari Blash
  • Miguel Sano
  • Dorssys Paulino
  • Garrett Richards
  • Enny Romero
  • Gary Sanchez
  • Jose Iglesias
  • Dan Voglebach
  • Breyvic Valera
  • Julio Morban
  • Gregory Polanco
  • Scooter Gennett
  • Logan Morrison
  • Rymer Liriano
  • Felipe Rivero
  • Michael Pineda
  • Kaleb Cowart
  • Jon Lester
  • Grant Balfour
  • Jameson Taillon
  • Keyvius Sampson
  • Jonathon Crawford

As an added bonus, Onyx Authenticated has also thrown in some autographed baseballs that you can keep an eye out for from players such as: Bryce Harper, Javy Baez, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and Jon Lester.

Onyx Authenticated will only be making 100 boxes.  Five of those boxes will have a Golden Ticket.  Anyone that obtains one of these Golden Tickets will be eligible to win a Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig dual signed baseball which will be given away during the 2014 National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, OH.

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Heading to Cleveland for this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention?  If so, be sure to check out this very Limited Edition product available exclusively at the event, Preferred Players National Edition 2014.  Each Limited Edition case contains 3 Autographed Baseballs from today’s baseball Stars and Top Prospects.  Each Hand-signed baseball comes in its own wood box and display cube with an official ONYX Authenticated Certificate of Authenticity.

Historic Heisman Photo Sums Up The ’09 National

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Ron Dayne, Billy Sims, Eric Crouch, Gino Torretta, Jason White, Mike Rozier & Steve Owens

During the National we became good friends with Dave and Jim Maser who run THE PIN MAN.  They have pins for almost anything you can think of.  I purchased a bunch of Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Phillies, and various other pins from them including one that states the Tampa Bay Rays won the ’08 World Series.  Dave and Jim are from Colorado and attend shows all over the country.

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Dave and Jim are friends with Mary & Scott of Crescent Collectibles who were setup across from them.  Crescent Collectibles was able to go behind the TRISTAR curtains and obtain autographs for their shop.  Since Dave and Jim of THE PIN MAN know Crescent Collectible so well, they helped me get “backstage” too.  At first I thought I was going to meet Billy Sims and have him sign my football, but I got a whole lot more.  Mr. Sims signed my football and then called over six other Heisman Trophy winners who were back there signing stuff for TRISTAR.  They all came over to take a group photo.  This was a great way to end the 2009 National Sports Collectors Convention.

Meeting with TRISTAR President & CEO Jeff Rosenberg

On Tuesday morning I received an e-mail from TRISTAR that said the following:

Dear Valued Customer/Media Member,

As many of you already know, the 30th Annual National Sports Collectors Convention is quickly approaching.  Every year is special to us at TRISTAR because we like to bring you, as well as fans across the globe, the best autograph guest line-up to ever appear at the National each and every year.  But, this show is particularly eventfully for us, as we are debuting a new product on August 25th, TRISTAR Obak.  This set commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 1909 Obak Minor League Baseball cards as we pay homage to both the stars of yesterday and today.

But as a very important part of the baseball card industry, you will not have to wait until August 25th to see a special version of the set.  I would like to offer you some special National Obak promo cards that will be only available during the show to you.  In addition to this, we have a special autograph card or numbered TRISTAR card from our other products to extend as well.

To redeem your Obak promo cards and TRISTAR autograph/numbered card, you simply need to bring this email to the TRISTAR Booth near the autograph pavilion and tell us your name and blog/publication that you are with.

I am really looking forward to the biggest National Sports Collectors Convention that the industry has ever seen, and I truly hope to have the chance to talk you at our TRISTAR Booth just to make sure we are doing everything we can to make your lives a little easier and provide you with products that you can be excited about.  Have a great show!  See you in Cleveland !

Sincerely,

Jeff Rosenberg

President & CEO

TRISTAR Productions, Inc.

I printed out the above message and took it with me to the National.  As soon as the show opened, I went over to the TRISTAR booth and was able to meet with Jeff Rosenberg.  Mr. Rosenberg knew who I was and wanted to say how much he enjoys reading all the blogs collectors have started.  He couldn’t believe the power blogs have over the industry.  I bet we talked for 15-20 minutes about baseball, cards, and the hobby in general.  The whole time we talked he was putting together a display case full of memorabilia like a Babe Ruth autographed baseball, original pack of Obak cards from the early 1900’s, and the 1869 Peck & Snyder Cincinnati Red Stockings card he recently purchased.  I thought it was really cool meeting him, and I’m glad to see a manufacturer embracing the sports card blogosphere.

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For stopping by to talk, Mr. Rosenberg gave me the above 8-card Obak set made for the National.

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He also gave me the above mini Obak cards: Heyward, Stanton, Montero, Morrison, Matusz, Bumgarner, Freeman, Kelly, Taylor, Fuentes, Westmoreland, Grichuk, Jackson, and Obama.

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Before leaving, I got Jeff Rosenberg to sign the e-mail he sent.

Pulls/Promos/Pickups at the ’09 National

One of my favorite things about the National are the promos provided by many of the manufacturers and various other dealers.  I obtained most of my promos from Press Pass and Panini, but did pick up a few from Razor and Dave & Adams.  In addition to the promos below, I also received everything that was stated to be in the VIP package.  Click on each photo for a closer look.

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Razor Promo Set – Rich Franklin, The Kardashian Sisters, Donovan Tate, Johnny Chan, and an ’08 Razor Metal Michel Inoa.

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These are all promos from D & A, Press Pass, and Razor – Aaron Hicks ’08 Metal Plate, Brett Wallace Freedom Cardboard, Tim Beckham Freedom Cardboard, David Cooper Freedom Cardboard, LeSean McCoy ’09 Press Pass Legends #’ed/5, and I pulled a Red Ink auto of Ozzie Newsome as a promo from Press Pass

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More promos from Press Pass & Panini – Matthew Stafford ’09 Score Atomic #’ed/50, Matthew Stafford ’09 Elite #’ed/499, Jeremy Maclin ’09 Elite #’ed/499, Michael Crabtree ’09 Elite #’ed/499 and a Tom Jackson Press Pass Legends #’ed/5

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I pulled some really nice low-numbered cards at the National while obtaining some of the promos.  Everyone got excited at the Press Pass booth when I pulled this Mike Alstott signed printing plate #’ed 1/1.  This is the second 1/1 I’ve pulled during a National.  I also picked up an Elston Howard 2000 UD Yankees Legends jersey and a Lou Gehrig ’07 UD SP Legendary Cuts 1 of 1 filmstrip piece.