For the first time ever, our show venture at the Southfork Hotel in Plano, TX had an autograph guest and I’d consider it a success all around. We were thrilled when Lindy McDaniel, who, according to one rating measure on BaseballReference.com, is ranked as the 13th greatest reliever ever, agreed to be our first guest.
He was extremely gracious to all who came. He even provides pre-signed items in case you don’t have anything special for him to sign. Interestingly, he has them from all five teams he played with from 1955-75. His Yankees photo (1968-73) was the one which was the most popular among collectors. As a transplanted New Yorker, always good to see Yankees love in Texas. Lindy is 79 years old now and has his own website.
We were also very fortunate in that his fee was low enough that we were able to give each attendee a free autograph and charge a moderate sum ($3 each) for each additional autograph. Several collectors did take advantage of the price point and bought several. To keep
the lines moving, we limited those sales to a maximum of five at a time. We loved that he came in wearing a Yankees cap and brought along a Yankees uniform as well to display behind his signing table. The only downside was a couple of people did not read our time frames and arrived long after Lindy had left.
We were also very fortunate in a couple of other ways. My friend Eddie Kelly of Pro Look came up with a slide of McDaniel that we were able to turn into reasonably priced photos ($3 each). Secondly, JSA graciously agreed to take the space next to Lindy and authenticate each autograph for a small fee. At the end of the day, when I spoke to the JSA rep, he said he had a great day and I know he must have because his wife and children came up around 2:30 to give him a break which tells you how busy he was all day. I saw a few of the items which came in and I’m always amazed at just how much material is out there.
As for the show. we drew far more people than we ever drew before. From what I heard about dealer sales they ranged from acceptable to excellent. One vendor told me he made about 20 times his table cost. That same vendor mentioned to me that he had taken his promotional activities up a notch (something we discussed here last month) and had even taken a couple of inexpensive paid ads on some local autograph websites announcing he’d be set up at the show. It was a smart move and good for us, too, as it probably brought more people through the door.
Another good lesson learned is the old concept of value. If you provide the attendees with a reason to come, they will do so. Since Triple Cards is on my way home from the show. I always stop in and give him an update. The owner was thrilled to hear how many people we drew because even if a couple of those people end up at his store before or after, it’s a benefit to him.
What else was interesting was a nice young man from Arkansas who called me on Friday and came to the show on Saturday. He found out about the show from a flyer left at Triple Cards and was excited he had picked the right weekend to come down to indulge himself in the hobby. Nick’s Sports Cards is about 10-15 minutes west of the show site and Triple Cards is less than five minutes north so it’s easy to make it a full day of hobby-related activity, which is how it used to be in many areas 20 years ago.
I want to give a shout out to good hobby friend JJ Saenz who sat with Lindy during his autograph stint. JJ did a great job keeping the autograph line moving and ensuring the tickets given matched the amount of items sold. In addition, my former Beckett comrade Jeff Allison was again able to drop off a box with donations for our March Adat Chaverim charity show. We thank Jeff for his contribution and we’re always looking for more cards for our charitable purposes.
There was one funny “post-show” story. While I was out to dinner with my wife and mother-in-law, my phone rang. When the caller identified himself, I laughed and said, “I have the cards you left behind my table.” I met him the next day and he got his lost cards back but it goes to show that the role of a show promoter takes on many challenges.