I ran across an interesting blog post from a Galesburg, Illinois newspaper reporter tonight about one of Willie Mays’ early card show appearances.
It was 1986 at a show that was very popular at the time despite not really being that close to any major city. Back then, the autograph guests were a bonus. Most people still came to buy and sell cards. There were about three dozen dealer tables as I recall and plenty of customers. The hobby was big—but the overproduction era had not quite begun.
It was a long time ago and I hadn’t been able to recall the details from that day but I do remember it being the first time I’d heard about Mays’ tendency to be a little surly when things didn’t go perfectly at a show.
Apparently this was one of those times because a writer who must have been about my age at the time was there too and remembers it a lot better than I do.