WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Sports stars and fans came together this weekend at the Westchester County Center in White Plains for “The Winter Extravaganza” sports card show.
A rainbow of team colors were on display in the form of mini helmets, player cards, pennants and other sports memorabilia in the County Center, as avid fans and collectors perused the goods looking for a steal. Famous athletes were on hand each day, taking pictures and signing autographs for enthusiasts.
Stars included Atlanta Brave great John Smoltz, former New York Giant Sean Landetta, Super Bowl XVIII champion Joe Theismann and others. An autographed photo of former New York Yankee pitcher Fritz Peterson was presented to every fan with paid admission.
One employee working the event said Hall of Fame infielder Cal Ripken Jr. was the highlight of the weekend, as he chatted with fans and signed for several hours.
“Cal Ripken drew one heck of a crowd” on Saturday, he said. “We had a huge turnout, it got pretty crazy.” He added, “For the people here, this is something of an obsession, not just a hobby.”
Aside from the assortment of rare and signed goods on display, there were several booths for fans to peruse. An auctioneer website was collecting items to be sold, an appraiser was advising about the worth of certain cards and there was a historic art collector that specialized in sports goods.
Gabriel Bautista, who has been collecting signatures and cards for decades, said that the wide selection made “The Winter Extravaganza” a success.
“I’ve been collecting for most of my life, since I was a kid, and this was a great event to have in Westchester,” he said. “We’ve been here all three days to get signatures, there was a great collection.”