Former Negro Leaguer Sam Allen shares story as Virginia Beach card expo sees soaring demand

Sports

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Beach Sports Card, Comics and Collectibles Expo is used to holding monthly events where vendors can come and set up a table to buy, sell or trade collectables.

This includes trading cards and memorabilia, comic books, autograph or anything someone may be interested in collecting. And the show on Saturday, November 13, at the Virginia Beach Fieldhouse was their biggest event of the year, featuring a special guest in former Negro Leagues player and Norfolk native Sam Allen.

“We usually have 80 tables a month, but there was demand, demand, demand. So, we are testing this out and we have just over 150 tables,” said director Russell Savage.

Savage says the trading card and collectibles industry really became popular during the pandemic.

“They gravitated to doing what they did when they were younger.”

Some people are perusing this passion as a business venture, but others like Sam Allen were there not only to make a buck, but also share their stories. Allen was a professional baseball player in the Negro Leagues from 1957-1959.

Allen grew up in Norfolk and attended Booker T. Washington High School, where he played football and baseball. Allen eventually moved up to professional ball, and found himself playing with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1957.

Although Major League Baseball was desegregated at the time, Black players still found it difficult to earn a position on any team.

“I was blessed they had a Negro League,” Allen said. “A lot of the guys who couldn’t play organized ball would go and play in the Negro Leagues.”

After three years in the Negro Leagues, Allen was drafted into the military. That ended his professional baseball career, but his story lives on.

You can watch WAVY’s interview with Allen above.

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