WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Bobby Ciafardini has met some of the sports world’s greatest stars at the East Coast National Baseball Card Show, which he has been attending at the Westchester County Center in White Plains since he was a child.
On Sunday, the last day of this year’s four-day event, Ciafardini, 32, met two members of the 1986 World Series champion New York Mets, Dwight “Doc” Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, and hall of fame catcher Johnny Bench. He also received autographs from Mark Bavaro, a former New York Giant, and former Philadelphia Philly Greg Luzinski.
“If you grew up in the ‘80s, Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were the premiere guys,” Ciafardini said.
The sports information director for SUNY Purchase said he used to come to the 450-table card show with his mother, and that it connects him with his childhood.
“I think this is always a good event,” he said. “For most families, it’s a passage between generations.”
Stephen Mauro of Yorktown Heights brought his two children to the card show and bought a signed baseball. Both Ciafardini and Mauro noted there are less and less card shows and card shops, making this one all the more special.
Paul Levine, who has been displaying his merchandise at the card show for about 20 years, said business was slow over the four days, and that he only made enough to cover his expenses. He noted people are less willing to spend their money at card shows in recent years. However, Alix Langlas, another collector, believes there will always be a place for card shows.
“You still have your enthusiasts who are always going to be passionate about it,” said Langlas, of Burlington, Conn.
Mike Tyson and Reggie Jackson were also scheduled to appear Sunday, but weren't able to attend.