Cubs Convention/Woody's Warm Up report

Tony Kozelichki

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This year marked the 34th for the annual Cubs Convention and my 18th straight and 20th overall in attendance.

Check in at the hotel was a bit earlier than usual, very smooth and a relatively short wait for my passes and information packet. After that, it was a scan of the vendor area which was very disappointing as fewer vendors than the past couple of years and only one carrying any type of vintage items, none of which fit my collecting needs. Later, I found out that tables now cost $1400 per space for the three day weekend, which I believe is even more than the National. I don't know how anybody can made money with that type of charge.

The team auction was equally disappointing as game worn and game issued items went sky high. That's usually the case as many of the bidders are neophytes at memorabilia collecting.

Opening ceremonies saw only two named guests not in attendance, Bill Buckner and Ben Zobrist, whose flight was delayed. He did attend later that night. Buckner, on the other hand, did not attend at all. I had assumed it was also flight related as he would have come in from Idaho, but was later told by a dealer who has done business with him that he is in poor health.

The opening ceremony featured a very entertaining highlight film, as usual. Following the ceremony, the Ryan Dempster show (his fifth straight) was featured. Guests included the Ricketts family, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Rick Sutcliffe and Ryne Sandberg (hilarious), and Zobrist, among others.

We left the Dempster portion a little early to head to Water Tower Place for the Kerry Wood fundraiser. We were told no autographs would be allowed, but a couple guys I know who have been there before told me how to sneak in baseballs and that the players would sign for a $20 donation to Wood's charity. I was able to snag a Schwarber baseball that night, had a nice talk with Kerry Wood, another with Willson Contreras, Dempster and was able to have a poignant discussion with owner Tom Ricketts who sent my wife and I a condolence letter following my son's death in 2014.

In addition, we were treated to a mini concert by Jim Furyk (Eye of the Tiger) and Jim Peterik (Vehicle), who were both in attendance and lifelong Chicagoans and were members of the original Survivor. All in all, an expensive but enjoyable evening with plenty of free food and an open bar.

Saturday saw me spend most of the day sitting in session with Joe Maddon and his coaches, Theo Epstein, hitters Bryant, Baez, Zobrist and Contreras, pitchers Hendricks, Hamels and others, then afternoon sessions on business operations (Wrigley improvements and a Cubs TV network in 2020), and the ever popular Jeopardy program. Since I did not receive a winning voucher for the premium autographs, I only waited in line to get '69 Cub Rich Nye which I needed to add to my personal collection. In addition, he and I talked at length about the team's neglect to recognize the '69 team on its 50th anniversary. Many of us older Cubs fans relish that team as much, if not more, than the 16 team.

No bingo on Saturday night for me as I never win and instead had a nice dinner with my wife, daughter, and a pair of her college friends.

Sunday meant attending one last session featuring some past players including Bill Madlock, Ray Burris and Jon Lieber (very enjoyable).

For the weekend, I picked up baseballs by Schwarber, Maddon, Ricketts and broadcaster Pat Hughes. I came in needing Zobrist, Hendricks, Bryant and Pedro Strop who were all vouchered--so no luck there but, as always, a good weekend and a chance to catch up with a few contacts which will likely pay off in the future.
 

Tony Kozelichki

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Virtually any decent name current player is a voucher as are noted alumni, such as Sandberg, Dawson, etc. So far, only Mike Montgomery last year and Carl Edwards this year have been '16 World Series players not vouchered. All others from 2016 are vouchered. Most new roster players are free if you're willing to stand in line and get a ticket. Jenkins still runs a charity signing where all autographs are $20 each and this year he had himself, Dawson, Lee Smith, Bill Madlock, Pete LaCock, Gary Matthews, Bob Dernier, Jody Davis, Randy Hundley, Rich Nye and Paul Popovich. A great deal as it avoids long lines and you can get great autos such as Dawson for only $20. I wish I had known Davis was going to be in the booth because I have a set of his catcher's gear from 1985 that would great with his silver autograph on the chest protector or shin guards. Missed out on that one.
 

t.rooster

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Hey Tony, sounds enjoyable, if you have any '70s Madlock or LaCock or Popovich cards you want to trade, I can rustle up my Cubs autos (ttm and ip) for you to check out, have much more than Cubs also. LMK, thanks, Rooster.
 

Tony Kozelichki

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t.rooster: I have unsigned cards of Madlock (76) and LaCock (77) if interested. I stopped taking cards to be signed after my son died in 2014. If you're interested in signed cards, I have the following (these few were from his collection):

$1 each
Buck Coats 05 Topps Total
Jason Dubois 04 Donruss Team Heroes
Alberto Garcia 04 Bowman
Jon Leiber 00 Fleer Tradition
Scott Moore 07 Fleer
Ryan O'Malley 07 Iowa DAV
Eric Patterson 06 Bowman
Chris Walker 05 Bowman Chrome
Todd Wellemeyer 04 Ultra
Randy Wells 07 Bowman
Michael Wuertz 04 SP Prospects
Eric Young 01 Fleer Focus
Matt Camp 10 Iowa
Thomas Diamond 10 Iowa
Jason Dubois 10 Iowa
Jay Jackson 10 Iowa
Mike Mason 10 Iowa
Blake Parker 10 Iowa
Chris Robinson 10 Iowa
Marquez Smith 10 Iowa


$3 each
Randy Hundley 06 Fleer Greats
Wellington Castillo 10 Iowa


$5 each
Jeff Samardzija 10 Iowa
 

t.rooster

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Hey Tony~
lf your 1976 Topps Baseball Bill Madlock Cubs #640 & 1977 Topps Baseball Card #561 Pete LaCock is in NM condition I would be interested.
Would it be possible to see those 2 cards if they are in the said condition along w/ an image of this: $5 each Jeff Samardzija 10 Iowa?
my email is roosterrooh@gmail.com
thank you, Rooster.
 

Loyalty32

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Tony - Just getting old and slow! Honestly, I was checking the wrong forum. I kept looking in the Sports Talk. I'm glad I found it though!

Thanks
Craig
 

Tony Kozelichki

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I can't remember what forum I put it under. Probably would have better under sports talk, and that may be why I've gotten fewer responses this year.
 
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