What is it about human beings and their adoration of athletes? Is it nostalgia for our backyard dreams as children? Is it an envy about their laser focus? Or perhaps we just like to say, “we’re number one,” even if most of the team hails from far flung reaches of the planet and not Chicago. The reasons are myriad and superflouous when you’re in love, and these shops will keep you stocked with stuff to help remind you of your admiration of athletes and their teams.
(Photo by Tim Boyle/Newsmakers)

(Photo by Tim Boyle/Newsmakers)

8919 W Cermak Road,
Riverside, IL 60546
(708) 442-1926

March of 2016 marks 19 years in business at this location and Heroes has been keeping the dream alive for athletes and fans alike. Owner Chuck Wedick has thrilled kids and sports aficionados alike with his extensive collection of sports cards including baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer and even UFC. Wedick says, “from single cards to sets to boxes of packs, we carry older vintage cards as well as all of the newer releases. We also carry several gaming cards, like Magic, Pokémon and Yugioh.” You’ll also find different storage supplies for your cards or memorabilia, plus a true blue fan behind the counter.

Grandstand Limited
600 W. 35th St.
Chicago, IL  60616
(773) 927-1984

If you love the south siders who gave a World Series win in 2005 (or you’re just the weary north side’s “lovable losers”), show your lifelong dedication or newfound admiration for the Chicago White Sox at Grandstand Unlimited in Bridgeport. Browse apparel, novelties, hats, jerseys, collectibles and footwear related to all Chicago teams including the Bulls, Blackhawks, Bears, Sox and yes, the Cubs. Expect lots of clearance items, and the vintage stuff is especially exciting to consider. 

Related:  Best Places To Buy Vintage Video Games & Accessories In Chicago

Campus Colors
835 N Michigan Ave.
Water Tower Place – 7th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 266-2400

Campus Colors has become a Chicago institution with its five locations stocking a comprehensive collection of authentic merchandise from over 200 colleges and universities. It’s like going to the college bookstore without having to go into debt for tuition and beer. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Campus Colors also offers NCAA and professional team gear including sports apparel for kids and adults. Expect plenty of sports related novelties for gift giving, too. Jon Rubinstein, principal owner (and a grad of Washington University in St. Louis) notes that “we’re welcoming, approachable and knowledgeable.”

Bleachers Sports Music & Framing
557 Chestnut St.
Winnetka IL 60093
(847) 441-7767

The Winnetka shop has a fine selection of our Stanley Cup heroes’ memorabilia signed by Blackhawks players, and you can expect to see coveted authentic items from the Cubs and Bulls as well as Yankees, Red Sox and other teams. In the biz for over 20 years, Bleachers is a neatly arranged and comfortable retail establishment that also stocks a cool autographed music inventory. The staff works tirelessly to insure that all memorabilia is genuine.

Schwartz Sports Memorabilia, Inc.
6217 Park Ave.
Morton Grove, IL 60053
(847) 972-1670

Brian Schwartz, CEO/President of Schwartz Sports Memorabilia, Inc. says, “We are probably the largest sports memorabilia dealer in Chicagoland in terms of our overall inventory and national reach.” The Morton Grove store boasts an exclusive representation for all autograph signings and appearances for names like Barry Sanders, Hector Rondon, Frank Kaminsky, Mike Singletary and Jahlil Okafor, and it has  longstanding relationships for signings on a regular basis with local stars Brian Urlacher, Mike Ditka, Jim McMahon, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Andre Dawson, Paul Konerko, Frank Thomas, Bobby Hull, Tony Esposito and Chris Chelios. The business works to bring well-known guests to the Fanatics Sports Spectacular held each March and November at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, too.

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Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.