If the enthusiasm and smiles generated by the crowd at the Topps VIP Party on Wednesday afternoon is any indication of what to expect for the remaining four days of The National, it will be a good idea to buckle up and pack a little patience as the week progresses.
Once again, 2018 was a sellout when it came to VIP passes, and one of the perks is getting an invite to this annual gathering that starts 60 minutes before the doors open that lead to the convention floor.
The lines formed early for the free autograph sessions featuring Calvin Murphy (Naismith Hall of Fame), Mike Hargrove (former Cleveland Indians Manager), and Luis Tiant (former Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox pitcher). VIP packages started at $139.
The longest lines inside the Ballroom were reserved for Hargrove and Tiant. The Tiant line was cut-off about 30 minutes before the session ended as his line was constantly beyond the door. Hargrove also had a meandering line of fans with bats, balls and Cleveland Indians artifacts to be signed.
Murphy’s line moved the quickest, only appropriate that he was one of the quickest point guards in NBA history. But Murphy, enshrined in Springfield in 1993, had a quick greeting or “thank you” for just about everyone that passed by his table.
“It’s the least I can do,” said Murphy, now 70, but looking like he could still run a fast-break. “It’s saying something nice, a word of encouragement, especially to kids. It’s good to see everyone again.”
In true Topps sponsorship fashion, everyone walked away with something. Swag bags included cards, a tote bag, magazines and various other trinkets. The party continued once the show floor opened as these three still had two more hours of signing ahead of them. Tiant’s line was again cut-off with 45 minutes to go, proving he continues to be a popular former player that also appreciates baseball and sports fans.
To read more from the National Sports Collectors Convention, click here.
To see our Tweets, click here.
Sign up to get SC Daily by email every morning here.