Chicago’s hometown heroes at the 2015 National

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Kris Bryant Fanatics Signed Photo

By Ryan Cracknell

Planning for the National Sports Collectors Convention is years in the making. Whether by chance or by fate, the locations have turned out to be places with a hotbed of hobby appeal. Last year in Cleveland, there was the homecoming of LeBron James and Johnny Manziel-a-mania.

For this year’s National, Chicago might be even hotter. From hot rookies to reigning champions to the biggest name in the modern hobby, there’s plenty of local buzz that adds to the hometown flavor.

Kris Bryant

The Cubs third baseman is the biggest rookie in baseball this year, and he’s also been a baseball card cornerstone for more than a year. Although he’s struggling at the plate right now, collectors are still buying and selling Bryant cards in a big way.

Both Topps and Panini America have Bryant included in their wrapper redemption plans.

Fanatics Authentics, which recently signed the 23-year-old to an exclusive autograph deal, will also be on hand at the show. One would have to assume that they’ll have items available.

Bryant has no shortage of cards for all types of collectors. Bigger budgets are still hunting for his Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs and short-print Rookie Cards in 2015 Topps Finest and 2015 Topps Heritage. For those looking for something a little more reasonable, there’s 2015 Topps Series 2 and the just-released 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter.

Michael Jordan

Despite having played his final NBA game more than a decade ago, Jordan still rules the hobby. Whether it’s in Chicago, other parts of the United States or faraway parts of the globe, his cards are the trendsetters from which all other modern players are measured.

The NSCC has a biggie when it comes to Jordan cards as well. A 1997-98 Fleer Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Emerald Jordan, serial-numbered 001/100, is currently being sold by Baseball Card Exchange. They are at the show with the card.

1997-98 Fleer Metal Universe PMG Emerald Michael Jordan

Despite the serial-number, there are just 10 copies of the Green parallel as the other 90 are Red. Given the rise of the PMG over the past few years, bidding for the card already has topped $80,000 (and all bidder have to pre-qualify). The auction closes on Sunday, just a few hours after the National wraps for another year.

You can also bet that Jordan will be a big part of Upper Deck‘s plans at the show. The Bulls legend has an exclusive autograph and memorabilia deal with the company.

Kyle Schwarber

Bryant isn’t the only Cubs rookie generating buzz. Schwarber is back with the team for a second stint this season, showcasing some of the young talent hoping to make Wrigley Field a site of late-October baseball magic for years to come.

Schwarber doesn’t have any RCs yet. Those won’t be out until later in the season. But he does have several cards dating back to 2013 from his time with the USA Baseball national team. Schwarber can be found in a Cubs uniform in several 2014 Bowman products, including a Bowman Chrome Prospects Autograph.

2014 Bowman Chrome Draft Kyle Schwarber Autograph

2015 Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions

After winning their third Stanley Cup in six years, the Blackhawks have a core of players who have established their place in hockey history. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are the most popular in the hobby. However, there’s also Conn Smythe winner Duncan Keith, standout rookie Teuvo Teravainen and goalie Corey Crawford, among others.

In addition to these players drawing immediate interest, Chicago is a city with a deep sports history. Heroes from the past likely to draw interest at the National include the late Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Frank Thomas, Scottie Pippen, Greg Maddux, Gale Sayers, Bobby Hull, Carlton Fisk, Ed Belfour, Tony Esposito, Brian Urlacher, Paul Konerko and Andre Dawson. Those in attendance at the show won’t only be looking for their cards and memorabilia, but many of these players will also be signing at the show.

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Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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