QUINCY -- One of John Mast's favorite weekends of the year is coming up later this month.
It's the annual baseball card show at the Quincy Mall -- this will be the 31st edition -- and Mast has been to most of them.
"The hobby is still strong," said the 72-year-old Mast, a longtime Quincy resident who moved to Plainfield a few years ago.
For decades, Mast has been an avid collector of not only baseball cards but other forms of sports memorabilia, too.
Mast also is a sports memorabilia dealer and will be one of more than a dozen on hand at the mall show, scheduled Jan. 26 and 27.
"Late January is always one of the best times of the year for baseball cards," said Mast, who once operated a baseball card store in downtown Quincy. "You have new issues of cards coming out, which complements the never-ending interest of collectors looking for older cards to complete past sets. It's a great time of the year."
This year's show will feature a pair of former St. Louis Cardinals as signing guests -- catcher Tom Pagnozzi and pitcher Ken Dayley. Dayley will be on hand to sign autographs from noon to 2 p.m. Jan. 26, with Pagnozzi available from noon to 2 p.m. Jan. 27.
Pagnozzi was a three-time Gold Glove recipient, while Dayley posted a 33-45 record over 11 big-league seasons.
Dayley was 23-28 with a 3.18 ERA in parts of seven years with St. Louis, including a 9-5 record and 2.66 ERA in 1987. Pagnozzi played for 12 years with the Cardinals, logging a .253 career average. He was a 1992 All-Star selection.
Mike Jenkins, property manager at the mall and an avid Cardinals fan, said, "The baseball card show weekend is always one of my favorites. It is the single longest-running event on the mall calendar."
Jenkins said the Jan. 26-27 dates were selected because it is the weekend before the Super Bowl, and "a lot of sports fans are always looking for something to do."
"Plus, it allows sports enthusiasts the chance to just get together and talk about sports," he said.
Mast said vintage sports cards continue to increase in interest, demand and price, and sets such as the Topps Heritage brand are extremely popular because they are modeled after older Topps sets many collectors prefer.
Mast said Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield is one of the hot names in NFL collectibles, and in the NBA, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
"Michael Jordan will always be popular," Mast said. "He'll never go away."
Among current NBA players, Mast said 19-year-old Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic of Slovenia is the hot ticket.
"Rookie cards, of course, are always popular because they are a player's first card and always will be the most valuable in years to come," Mast said.