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A Few Upcoming Shows should be Worth the Trip

by Paul Angilly
April 20, 2004

The show calendar that accompanies this column every week lists all the major (and minor) upcoming card shows and autograph appearances across Connecticut, but there’s a couple of major card shows soon to be taking place in Massachusetts that might be worth the trip, especially if you’re a Red Sox fan.

The first is taking place this coming weekend, April 24-25, at the Host Hotel and Conference Center in Sturbridge, Mass.

Called the "Red Sox Heroes" show, promoted by Dick Gordon Sports in association with Mike Riccio Sports, the 125-table show will feature autograph-signing appearances by Hall-of-Famers Carl Yastrzemski, Bobby Doerr and Dennis Eckersley, future Hall-of Famer Wade Boggs, Hall-of-Fame announcer Curt Gowdy and four other notable former Red Sox players: Mel Parnell, who pitched a no-hitter in 1956; Earl Wilson, who pitched a no-hitter in 1962; Dave "Boo" Ferriss, a 25-game winner in 1946; and Pumpsie Green, the first African-American to play for the Red Sox.

Parnell, Wilson, Ferriss, Green and Gowdy are all scheduled to appear on Saturday, with Boggs and Eckersley there on Sunday and Yastrzemski and Doerr appearing both days. Autograph fees (for flats and balls) range from $15 for Parnell, Wilson, Ferriss, Green and Gowdy to $70 for Yastrzemski (or $40 for a Yaz autograph on a baseball card). Doerr autographs are priced at $25, with Eckersley at $45 and Boggs at $60. Premium items such as bats, jerseys, other equipment or oversized items cost extra.

Admission is $6 for either day, with two-day passes available for $10. A free poster by artist Paul Madden is included with each paid admission. The Host Hotel and Conference Center is located on Route 20 in Sturbridge, less than one-quarter mile from the first set of traffic lights off the exit from I-84.

A flyer for the show, with complete autograph pricing details and appearance times, can be viewed at:

Another show, scheduled to take place May 28-30 at the Royal Plaza Trade Center in Marlborough, Mass., will feature autograph appearances from many high-profile athletes, headlined by former Boston Bruins great and future Hall-of Famer Ray Bourque.

Also set to appear are baseball Hall-of-Famers Stan Musial, Harmon Killebrew, Lou Brock, Red Schoendienst and Carlton Fisk; former Red Sox stars Dwight Evans, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Luis Tiant, Marty Barrett, Jim Lonborg and Jose Canseco; current Red Sox DH David Ortiz; former baseball stars George Foster and Mark Fidrych; former Patriots Russ Francis and Hall-of-Famer John Hannah; and Super Bowl XXXVIII champion Patriots Jarvis Green and Asante Samuel.

Autograph tickets for regular items such as cards, photos or baseballs (but not hockey sticks, bats, jerseys, helmets, mini helmets, items larger than 16x20 inches, footballs or basketballs) range from $20 for Francis to $79 for Bourque or Musial.

Many players will be signing free autographs with the purchase of promotional items to be announced (such as a couple of packs of a certain brand of cards). Players signing free autographs (with the qualifying purchase) are: Green, Samuel, Fidrych, Barrett, Tiant and Lonborg.

Even if you’re not looking for autographs, the show itself, promoted by TRISTAR Productions, is worth the trip. The promoter promises more than 200 dealers from more than 20 states from coast to coast will be present at the event, offering rare sports and entertainment cards, as well as autographs and other sports memorabilia.

To get to the show, take I-84 East to the Mass Pike East (I-90). From there, take Route 495 North to Exit 24B, onto Route 20 West. The Royal Plaza will be one mile ahead on the right. Complete details can be found at: advance autograph and admission tickets can also be purchased from that website.

First 2004 Football Cards Out: The first football card set for the 2004 season, the SA-GE Hit draft picks set, has already been released -- well before the April 24-25 NFL draft.

The set features 45 top players expected to be taken in the draft, mostly quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. Among the players are Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Kevin Jones, and Roy Williams, all of which will have autograph and jersey cards randomly inserted in packs.

Packs include four base cards (45-card set) plus one insert card, with 30 packs per box. Boxes average five autographed cards and one jersey card.

Next up, the Press Pass 2004 Football draft picks set, with 50 base cards (including five short-prints) is due out on April 21. It will include exclusive autograph cards of three top receiving prospects: Larry Fitzgerald, Kellen Winslow and Mike Williams.

There will be five cards per pack, including one "Big Numbers" insert and one gold foil parallel. Hobby odds for pulling an autograph will be 1:7 packs, with hobby odds for pulling a game-used jersey card are 1:72 packs (retail packs will offer lesser odds of pulling an autographed or game-used insert).

Press Pass 2004 Signature Edition (SE) is scheduled for a May 5 release. The draft picks release will include a 40-card base set, with an autographed or jersey card in every pack (autographs 2:3 packs, jerseys 1:3 packs).

Earlier this month, Press Pass released the first card of projected No. 1 overall draft pick Manning as part of the National Trading Card Day giveaway set.

Also scheduled for release in May are the first NFL-licensed sets of the year: 2004 Playoff Prestige, 2004 Fleer Ultra and 2004 Topps Draft Picks and Prospects.

About the author
Paul Angilly is a sports reporter for The Bristol Press in Connecticut, and has been collecting sports cards and memorabilia for 30 years. He is not a dealer, nor does he make a profit from buying and selling cards. His weekly sports card and memorabilia collecting column appears each week in The Bristol Press and several other daily newspapers in Connecticut.

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