FOREST PARK — While the Cincinnati Reds canceled in July the annual Reds celebration event ― which would have been this weekend ― for the second consecutive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sports Gallery Fest will happen to help fill the gap.
The show for the southwest Ohio sports memorabilia store is significantly smaller than Redsfest (which draws 20,000 over a two-day event) store owner Mark Fugate said his memorabilia show can fill that void for baseball fans. He expects 2,000 to 3,000 people could attend over the three-day weekend (Friday to Sunday) to visit the 80 tables and 40 to 50 vendors, and have a chance to meet five Reds legends signing autographs.
“These are some of the best players they’ve ever had,” said Fugate, a Middletown native.
Four of the former Reds were key members of the 1990 World Series championship team. On Friday, Pete Rose will be on hand to sign autographs. On Saturday, the Nasty Boys ― the pitching trio of Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers ― will be at the show. Barry Larkin, who is in the MLB and Reds halls of fame, will round out the former Reds signing autographs at noon Sunday.
Additionally, Cincinnati sculptor Tom Tsuchiya, the artist who’s sculpted bronze statues for the Reds, Major League Baseball and the National Football League, will be on hand to sign miniature sculptures and photos of his work for $10, Fugate said.
The show will be five doors down from the Sports Gallery store in the Cobblewood Plaza on Smiley Road in Forest Park (near Walmart).
Fugate, who owned Diamond Sports in Monroe before he changed the name and moved to West Chester Twp. and then Forest Park, said when Larkin attends Sunday, said it will be his first show of 2021. He said it will be the Nasty Boys’ second visit to Sports Gallery this year.
Pete Rose, who is ineligible for the MLB Hall of Fame, was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2016, and a vital piece of the Big Red Machine when the team won back-to-back championships in 1974 and 1975. He has signed at previous Sports Gallery events.
Though this is the second Sports Gallery Fest, Fugate has brought mostly former and current Reds players to his store for going on 11 years. Until last year, he’s averaged about 20 or so players a year. He does this because “people want to see them, people want to get their autographs, and they just want to meet them.”
“I think people like to get a memento from their heroes from back in the day,” said Fugate on why people seek autographs and sports memorabilia. “Some people like to get a nice photograph and frame it and put it on the wall.”
And with every piece of sports memorabilia, Fugate said “there’s a story behind it,” like a celebration photo of the team celebrating the 1990 championship “just brings back memories of better days in Cincinnati history. We haven’t had that in quite a while.”
IF YOU GO
- 5:30 p.m. Friday: Pete Rose
- Noon Saturday: The Nasty Boys, Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers
- Noon Sunday: Barry Larkin
Mail orders and drop-offs are available for anyone who cannot make the show. Contact Mark Fugate at 513-759-4256 or email email@example.com.
For tickets, visit www.cincysportsgallery.com/tickets, Sports Gallery at Cobblestone Plaza on Smiley Road, or call 513-759-4256.
Anyone who purchased autographs for the Nasty Boys signing in August that was canceled, those tickets are good for the Dec. 4 signing.
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