By Ross Forman
Hosted and moderated on a stage set up in the middle of the venue, amongst the dealers, celebrities each talk for about 15 minutes before their scheduled autographing time.
Fans are given an opportunity to ask anything on their mind – and they do. Athletes are asked about collectibles, their career and more.
Celebrities who have sat on stage for Tristar Talk have included Joe Montana, Reggie Jackson, Dallas Keuchel, Bobby Knight and Kevin Nash, among others.
Pete Rose took Tristar Talk to a new level when he spoke in front of several hundred at the Tristar Collectors Show in San Francisco, held April 28-30 at the Cow Palace.
Rose started his Tristar Talk session sitting on the stage, not on a chair … and that didn’t last long either. He soon just stood up and held court. He talked colorfully and candidly, told stories, shared insight and was the Hit Talker, not just the Hit King.
Sure, some of his comments would land in an R-rated movie, but the fans loved every second of Rose, who talked about his Fox-TV broadcasting gig alongside Frank Thomas and Alex Rodriguez, his years with Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, and much more.
And then there was The Question.
Rose was asked if he had any regrets. He paused for a second, then snapped, “Of course I regret that I bet on baseball,” and then added a few more verbal barbs that drew cheers from the crowd.
Rose certainly was king at Tristar Talk in San Francisco, and he remains a popular autograph signer, too. And one of the most unique autographs he signed at the Tristar show, as he does at all shows, included the inscription: “I’m Sorry I Bet On Baseball.”
Signers at the San Francisco show – which drew about 5,000 fans – included Montana, Hulk Hogan, Dennis Rodman, Andre Dawson, Eddie Murray, Orlando Cepeda, Ray Bourque, James Lofton, Mike Tyson and Artis Gilmore, among others.
Clay Sigg signed, too.
Wait, who’s Clay Sigg, you ask?
Sigg is a baseball historian and a member of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) and the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA). Sigg has attended games in all 30 current major league ballparks and 11 past major league stadiums. Sigg also is a member of the University of California at Davis Baseball Hall of Fame.
He attended the Tristar San Francisco show to promote and sign, copies of his new book, Hometown Heroes: The Single Franchise Baseball Stars of the 20th Century.
From the inception of the game in the 19th century, about 18,500 ballplayers have put on a major league uniform and of those, only 177 have played their entire major league careers with the same team for at least 10 years.
The book profiles these one-team wonders, who Sigg tagged as, “self-effacing, team-oriented men of high character, great teammates and outstanding influences in the clubhouse.”
Among the one-teamers, 50 have been enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, such as Mike Schmidt.
Here’s look at some of the souvenirs spotted at the Tristar San Francisco show:
• 2012 Topps Chrome Baseball cards, blister box: $50.
• Two unique bobbleheads of Klay Thompson – the first, a San Jose Sharks edition, with the basketball star in shorts and Sharks jersey ($75); the second, a surfing edition ($100).
• A 1995 San Francisco 49ers team-signed white football: $250.
• A 1989 Oakland A’s team-signed bat: $750.
• Stan Musial-signed 16×20 photos: $99.
• For $5, you could claim the 2013-14 Oakland A’s dog-filled calendar; or Oakland A’s media guides from 2005 and 2007.
• Dwight Clark-signed, authentic-replica jersey: $70.
• Dwight Clark-signed 49ers helmet, with an inscription of “The Catch”: $250.
• Steve Young-signed Hall of Fame mini helmet: $70.
• Klay Thompson-signed, framed 16×20 photo: $150.
• Bo Jackson-signed Darth Vader helmet, with the Oakland Raiders logo, and inscribed, “Come To The Dark Side”: $799.
• Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers winter hats were $15 each. Neither seemed in high demand.
• David Carr-signed 8×10 photo: $55.
• David Carr-signed 16×20 photo: $75
• There was a dealer selling those yellow Baseball Hall of Fame plaques, each signed and encased by PSA/DNA: Buck Leonard ($50), Bob Lemon ($20), Gaylord Perry ($35) and Johnny Mize ($25).
• Pro wrestling fans were plentiful at the show, thanks to the signing sessions of Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Hart – all members of the WWE Hall of Fame. One dealer, meanwhile, was selling signed 8×10 photos of other wrestling legends: Brock Lesnar ($80), Bret Hart ($50), Steve Austin ($100), The Rock ($200), the late Miss Elizabeth ($250) and the late Ultimate Warrior ($350).
• Ben Grieve-signed baseball: $8.
•Anyone want an autographed football? A few available were Howie Long ($150), Tim Brown ($175) and “Broadway” Joe Namath ($375).
• Buster Posey signed, framed San Francisco Giants jersey, along with two unsigned photos: $500.
• Game-used high school helmet of John Ross: $2,000.
•Brett Favre-signed Green Bay Packers helmet: $400.
• Chuck Noll-signed Pittsburgh Steelers helmet: $550.
• Stephen Curry-signed Golden State Warriors jersey, with a drawing of his likeness: $1,200.
• For $10, there were bobbleheads of NASCAR drivers Rusty Wallace, Joe Nemechek and Dale Jarrett.
• For $75, you could score a signed 16×20 photo of Mike Singletary, Howie Long or Bob Knight.
• Jennie Finch-signed, framed, matted 16×20 photo: $65.
• Quoting Greg Lambert of California Card Shark: “It was a good selling show, especially Sunday. The 2016-17 Donruss Optic basketball and Panini Select basketball (unopened hobby boxes) were on fire all weekend; they sold really well. I was a little disappointed in hockey (box) sales, especially as hot as hockey is now. Football sales also were down. Basketball sales were solid all weekend.”
Lambert went on to say that Bowman Baseball was a great weekend seller and that the product is, “loaded.” He added that 2017 Bowman Baseball “might be the best product that the company has ever made.”
Ross Forman is a freelance contributor to Sports Collectors Digest. He can be reached at Rossco814@aol.com.