Cardinals Caravan and Winter Warm Up (long read)

rl16

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The family and I made our annual January weekend trip to the Cardinals Caravan and
Winter Warm Up this past weekend. Our first stop was Friday at noon in Carbondale for the Caravan. We usually go to the Caravan in Champaign, but it was moved to Sunday evening. The Cardinals advertise autographs for the first 400 children. If time allows, it is up to the organizers if they allow adults through the line. We arrived about 15 minutes before the start. My kids were numbers 98 and 99 in the auto line. There were a few more people that came in, but I doubt they gave out more than 200 auto tickets. After a 30 minute question/answer session, people were called up 50 at a time for the autos. They did allow photos across the table and the players did spend a few seconds talking to the kids. Here is what we got autoed:
Cards
2013 Springfield Cardinals Tommy Pham
2011 Springfield Cardinals Tommy Pham
1987 Topps Danny Cox
1989 Topps Danny Cox
1986 Topps Tom Lawless
1987 Topps Tom Lawless
2012 Springfield Cardinals Tyler Lyons
2014 Topps Pro Debut Marco Gonzales
Other Items
Tyler Lyons Springfield Cardinals Ticket Stub
Marco Gonzales 8x10
Michael Wacha 8x10 picture of Wacha, Lyonds, and my 2 kids at a Memphis Redbirds game
Michael Wacha 2013 NLCS Game 6 Ticket Stub inscribed 2013 NLCS MVP

I was hoping to get through the line again, but with 10 minutes left, there was still a line of over 50 people so we left. The caravans in Champaign always went quicker, but it was nice for the players to talk to the kids for a minute or two.

After the Caravan, we headed to St. Louis so I could stop by will call to pick up my auto tickets. We spent the evening at a shopping mall before heading back to the hotel. Anyone who thinks baseball cards are expensive should go to the American Girl doll store. We took my 10 year old daughter there for her birthday. Hard to walk out of the store without spending $50.

The Winter Warm Up opened at 9:00 Saturday morning. Admission prices for all 3 days was $40 for adults and $10 for 15 and under. We got in line about 8:00. We were within the first 20 people in the public line. The hotel offers a priority line for those that stay there. They get in about 10 minutes before everyone else. Needless to say the early entrants went straight to the Cardinals Care store and bought most of the big name jerseys and bats. Jerseys cost $100, bats $100, helmets $20. Various people were walking out with the equivalent of shopping carts of stuff. I guess I would too for those prices. I skipped the store and headed to the vendor area. There were a lot more autographed pictures and equipment this year than cards. No cards of Ray Lankford to be found, so all I bought were 2 super jumbo packs of 2014 Bowman Draft.

This year was the first time I have every bought a high dollar item. I had bought a Yadier Molina auto ticket for $100, but he was signing on Monday so I sold it for $150. With that money, I bought a 16x20 photo of Molina and Wainwright from the 2006 World Series that was already autographed by Molina with JSA authentication. I had Wainwright autograph it on Sunday and got it authenticated. The vendor I bought the picture from is going to matte and frame it for $50.

Tickets for free autographs were handled different this year. In year’s past the tickets were passed out at the player’s signing time. This year tickets were passed out 2 hours before the player signed, except for those who signed at 9 or 10 which were handed out like last year. It seemed to work well on Saturday. On Sunday the workers passed out tickets too early for Magnerius Sierra, the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year. This upset quite a few people who decided to get into a shouting match with some of the workers. My 10 and 6 year olds learned a few new words they did not need to. After the shouting match, they changed the location of where the free tickets were handed out. I guess not everyone knew this, so more people were mad. We did not have any problems getting the free tickets we wanted other thatn Sierra. I was happy with any free autos, so I cannot complain.

Here is everything that I got signed.
Free autos:
4 Todd Worrell –one traded
3 Ken Dayley-one traded
2 Rickey Horton
2 John Costello
2 Brad Thompson
2 Pat Perry
1 Ken Reitz
2 Jeff Lahti- one card, one on 1985 team ball

Paid
2012 Springfield Cardinals Sam Freeman
Kevin Siegriest Cancer Poster
16x20 Adam Wainwright

We stayed all day Saturday and Sunday. We took the Busch Stadium Tour. Winter Warm Up is the only time the tour includes the locker room. My son loves Matt Adams and got a kick out of seeing his locker. I also sat in on two presentations. One was about the Cardinals minor league system, the other was a questions and answer session with the assistant GM and director of the draft. I found both very interesting since we go to quite a few minor league games each year. Overall, I was pleased with the weekend minus the shouting match. This is the third year the entire family has went, look forward to doing it again next year.
 

Tony Kozelichki

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I'd be interested in knowing what type of players are available in the equipment sale. A jersey or a bat of Molina at $100 is a steal. Some minor league call-up, or a no-name, $100 would be the going rate on a jersey. Helmet prices are VERY good, regardless of the player.

I'm not a Cardinals fan, but what I don't like too much about their autograph procedure is that charging of up to $100 for a player's auto. I know it's a charity function, but the price eliminates a lot of fans, not to mention many of the same players sign on the show circuit for a lot less.
 

rl16

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HI Tony,

Jerseys I saw included Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran, Lance Berkman, Matt Adams, and Shelby Miller. Bats included Carpenter, Allen Craig, David Freese, and Beltran. I doubt any Molina items were in there, but still plenty of bigger names available.

The autos are priced about the same as show pricing. Molina was $100, Wainwright $90, and Holliday at $75 were the most expensive but none of them do shows anymore. Matt Carpenter at $50, Matt Adams $25, Kolten Wong $40 are close to show prices, but you also need to figure the $40 admission to get in to Warm Up unless you plan on getting a lot of free autographs. They do over charge for any older HOF player. Red Schoendienst, Whitery Herzog, and Tony LaRussa were all $75 each which is well above show pricing. Most players will add inscriptions if you ask.

Auto tickets go on sale online about 2 weeks before Winter Warm Up. They sell 400 tickets for each player. Most big name players sell out within an hour. I got my Molina ticket within the first 2 minutes and was number 155.

I enjoyed your write up about Cubs Convention. Always interesting to hear how other teams do things. Sorry to hear about your son. I know after doing this the last 3 years with my son and daughter, you make wonderful memories that last a lifetime.

Ray
 

Tony Kozelichki

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Thanks for the kind words. Going to the convention was one of the highlights of our year.

I, too, would like to hear others' experiences at FanFests, Conventions, or whatever the other teams call them.

400 autographs per player is a solid number. At the Cubs Convention, all autographs are free but the players only sign 150-200. If you stay at the hotel, you get 2 admission tickets for free. Non-hotel guests pay $40 for three days.

Congrats on making some money with your Molina autograph and on your Ray Lankford collection. 93% is awesome. I collect Ernie Banks items and only have about 15% completed. However, my card collection checks in at more than $15,000, and it's virtually all vintage. That total doesn't include the other stuff like autographs, display pieces, my game worn uniform or my flag that flew over the left field foul pole
 

steve1972

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for those who are interested in further auto information with cardinals players or former players you can look up a card shop in ofallon Illinois called collectors corner. the owner is jim miller and he works with the cardinals hall of fame and hosts cardinals autograph sessions in his shop thru the year. has had those like Molina, adams, freese (while in st. Louis) and many more, even had personal auto sessions with former player George hendrick. he has plenty of auto photos, jerseys, bats, balls, and even cards of various cardinals players and other players in MLB.

his phone is 618-206-8777, and his shop is easy to get to just a short distance off I-64.
 

rl16

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Small world. Jim is who I bought the photo from and is framing it. Are you planning to go to his 3 day show in late March?
 

steve1972

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Small world. Jim is who I bought the photo from and is framing it. Are you planning to go to his 3 day show in late March?




jim is good guy, he first opened a shop out of his house in new baden and did that for a while and moved shop to main street new baden before going to st Louis for a while and then purchasing collectors corner from the guy who had it on north Illinois in Fairview heights.

I didn't know about his show but i don't collect autos or stuff like that, I just stick to cards. I may have to look into it and see what I am doing that weekend. just happened to go to his shop in ofallon for the first time in about six months to buy team set bags and he had a whole catchers gear set (chest protector, shin guards and mask) auto'd by tony cruz. didn;t ask how much because it wasn't Molina's gear. lol.
 

rl16

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WWU was the first time I talked to him. He seems very down to earth and willing to help. I got a better feeling doing business with him than some of the other vendors I talked too. Quite a few of them had very big egos.
 

Tony Kozelichki

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How many vendors and what types of merchandise were at the Winter Warm Up? I was extremely disappointed in the number of vendors and the selection of merchandise at the Cubs Convention.
 

rl16

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There were 52 booths set up consisting of 28 different vendors. The 5 additional booths the Cardinals sponsored that included the kids club, the Cardinals hall of fame museum, and the Cardinals authentics store. The Authentics store is well stocked because of the high prices. Jerseys started at $300, locker room name plates at $100, bats at $200. Here are some of the highlights of the vendors:
1)Cardinals triple A team Memphis Redbirds were selling tickets packages
2)Cardinals double A team Springfield Cardinals sold game used jerseys for $100. They also had bobblehead for $25-30, and teams sets for $5. I also buy a team set for that price.
3) Rawlings has an office in St. Louis. They had displays of Molina's gold glove and were selling various baseballs, but none of the official ones.
4) One vendor had a lot of clothing from the various St. Louis teams such as sweatshirts, caps, gloves, etc. My wife usually finds a bargain or two there.

They were 8-10 dealers who sold autographed balls, pictures, bats, and stadium give aways. I would guess about the same numbers sold cards, but almost all were Cardinals. A couple of dealers did have wax boxes. A general observations of pricing:
Rawlings Baseballs were $15 boxed, $18 cubed. A couple of dealers had the baseball with the new commissoner's name.
UV ball cubes ranged from $2-$2.50.
Generic full sized Louisville Slugger bats were $50-60
8x10 photos were $5, 11x14 were $15-$20, 16x20 photos were $20-$25

Most card dealers either had cards in a showcase, or sorted by players. Most wanted $1 for any common. I know it cost a lot of money to set up, but I cannot see anyone selling too many 1987 Topps cards for $1 each. Quite a few dealers only had cards of players appearing at the WWU, but a handful did have vintage going back to the 1950s. In past years I would spend 3 to 4 hours in the vendor area. This year I was finished in less than 1. The selection is ok, but being a collector of a player who had not played in over 10 years who was not a superstar limits what I might find. 3 years ago I did find one vendor who had 10 Lankfords 1/1 cards that were a mix of printing plates and Topps Gold Label cards. I got the 10 of them for $110. Best deal I ever made.
 

HockeyBrawler

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I, too, would like to hear others' experiences at FanFests, Conventions, or whatever the other teams call them.

Rangers have theirs tomorrow. I'm sure I'll have some comments. Last year's was very poorly run due to a lack of signage and people who knew what was going on, but eventually I got out with a personal record of 131 autographs from the alumni guys. All are free, each current player is limited to about 225, but the big names are done via random drawing. This year everyone gets scratch-off cards with the possibility of winning the big names (Beltre, Choo, Fielder, Andrus, and Pudge).

I plan on racking alumni once again this year.
 

chieftazmisty

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thanks for sharing it was a good read and glad you and your family had a great weekend except for the shouting match
it is great to read about this different shows
 
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