Some football and baseball guests will sign for early arrivals at this year's National convention.
A long standing tradition of the National Sports Collectors Convention will continue this year at the 28th National at the I-X Center in Cleveland, August 1-5. On Wednesday Night, Sneak Peek attendees will have the opportunity to get free autographs from several local fan favorites. Autographs will be first come first served while time permits.
Appearing at 5:15 is former Cleveland Brown great, Greg Pruitt. Pruitt played with the Browns from 1973-1981 after an All America career for the University of Oklahoma Sooners. Pruitt electrified fans with his amazing kick returns ranking first in kickoff return average (26.3), first in punt return average (11.8). A solid runner, Pruitt had 3 consecutive 1000 yard rushing seasons for the Browns and ranks 4th All Time in Rushing for Cleveland. Pruitt was a Pro Bowl performer in 1974, 1975, 1977 and 1978.
Signing at 5:30 will be former Indians No-Hit Pitcher Sonny Siebert. Siebert pitched for the Indians from 1964-1969, tossing his no-hitter against the Washington Senators on June 10, 1966. Originally drafted by the Indians as an outfielder, Siebert was also drafted by the NBA's Hawks. A two-time AL All Star, Siebert was traded to the Red Sox for "Hawk" Harrelson and had four successful seasons in Boston. Always a good hitter, Siebert stroked 6 homers in 1971 including two in one game.
Jim "Mudcat" Grant will be signing beginning at 6PM. In addition to sporting one of the more colorful nicknames, "Mudcat" pitched for the Indians from 1958-64. A two-time All Star, Grant won 21 games in 1965 and that same year became only the 2nd American League pitcher to hit a World Series Homer. A former Indians Broadcaster, Mudcat is one of only 13 African-American pitchers to win 20 or more games in a season. His book entitled "The Black Aces" details these pitchers.
John Hicks, outstanding All American tackle for Ohio State from 1970-1973 will also be on hand on Wednesday Night starting at 6PM. Hicks' play during his college years won him the Vince Lombardi and Outland Trophies, emblematic of the nation's best lineman. Hicks finished second in the Heisman balloting in his Senior Year, an unbelievable feat for an offensive lineman. During Hicks' three years, Ohio State posted an incredible 28-3-1 record, and each year, Ohio State won the Big Ten Championship and went to the Rose Bowl, making Hicks the first person from OSU to play in three Rose Bowls.
Making a rare appearance at 6PM is former Indians Manager Mike Hargrove. An Indian favorite as a player frim 1979-85, Hargrove was nicknamed "The Human Rain Delay" for his elaborate routine before every pitch. Hargrove was a career .290 hitter and was named the AL Rookie of the Year in 1974. Hargrove managed the Indians from 1991-1999, taking the Tribe to the World Series in 1995 and 1997. Most recently Hargrove managed the Seattle Mariners, resigning in June.
These free autograph guests will appear in the Tristar Autograph Pavilion and will sign free autographs one per person while time permits. Pruitt & Grant will also sign at the 28th Annual VIP Party prior to the Sneak Peek, which begins at 3:30PM on Wednesday. VIPs will be admitted to the Sneak Peek at 4:30 PM while General Admission Attendees will enter at 5PM. Attendance to the Sneak Peek is free with the VIP Admission package.