A pair of game-worn Ryne Sandberg shoes were for sale at the Cubs Convention… (Hilary Higgins/RedEye )
When it comes to Cubs fans, nothing sells quite like nostalgia.
There was no better evidence of this at last weekend's Cubs Convention than vendor Dave Noll trying to sell a pair of 20-year-old used shoes for $750.
"The coolest thing, I think, are these Ryne Sandberg game-worn baseball spikes," Noll said at the event, which took place at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. "They were in the trenches. They were on Sandberg's feet. They probably helped him steal bases, field ground balls, jack baseballs out of the park. … They're a piece of history."
Sandberg's spikes were one of many unusual, if not sentimental, items on sale at this weekend's Cubs Convention. And while most vendors tend to stick to mainstream items, people such as Fred Sherry include stuff that's off the beaten path for a simple reason.
"Everybody doesn't have it. You can't find it anywhere else," he said. "That's what I try to put my business on so I can sell stuff that way. It's easier. Everyone has pictures and photos and baseballs. You find the unique stuff, it's no problem, people want to buy stuff like that."
Don't drop it …
No one in his or her right mind would pay $25 for a 10-year-old leaf in a plastic bag under normal circumstances. However, if said leaf was a piece of the ivy from the Wrigley Field wall picked in 2003 right after the Cubs lost Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, that's a different story.
"This is a piece of ivy that was there on the wall including that fateful night of the unfortunate incident," said Noll, referring to the infamous Steve Bartman play. "We go for the historically significant," he said when asked why he had so many obscure items in his collection.
And sure enough, three hours after RedEye interviewed Noll, someone had snapped up that piece of ivy.
That's his bag, baby
Fred Sherry, a UPS driver by day, had an assortment of unusual collectibles for sale Saturday.
One of his biggest-ticket items was an autographed blue duffel bag that late Cubs legend Ron Santo used to bring on road trips ($1,000).
"I bought this [bag] right from his son," he said. "You won't get that anywhere else."
Sherry also was hoping to capitalize on hockey's recent return by selling the Cubs jersey that Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull wore the night he sang the seventh-inning stretch in 2008 ($700).
"It comes with a picture of him in the booth singing 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game,' " he said. "Bobby Hull is always a good sell."
'Your nickname here'
Denny Graziano was hoping to unload jerseys with random names such as "Bucky 73" or "Ames 11" sewn on the back at $40 apiece.
If he's selling them, there's gotta be a market for them, right?
"Somebody has the nickname Bucky, somebody has the same last name [as the ones on the back of the jerseys], they would go for that," he said. "I have one, Nicole—beautiful. It's a female name."
Graziano said when it comes to personalized jerseys, the convenience factor goes a long way.
"They don't have to letter it," he said. "It's already done."
Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.
Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye Sports' Facebook page.