Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tristar Houston Collectors Show

With the exception of Spring Training in Arizona, it's not very often that I get to travel outside of California for autographs, so when I got the chance to fly to Texas for Tristar's annual Houston Collectors Show I was overly excited to see new faces and get some legends who rarely come to the west coast.

The show was slated for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, however the Friday line-up only consisted of two Astro rookies who weren't worth while. So instead I decided to check out Dallas and it's many sights, which included AT&T Stadium, Rangers Ballpark, and a Dallas Stars game at the American Airlines Center.

Whenever I'm outside of California I always like to check out at least one new stadium or arena, so being able to check out three in one day was great. The only disappointing part was that the AT&T Stadium field had dirt over it and was prepared for Motorcross, so my brother-in-law (pictured above), father, and I weren't able to see it in it's full glory. Although I will admit that it was still pretty glorious, and that's coming from a 49ers fan.

Saturday was technically the second day of the show, but for me it was my first. After a long drive from Dallas to Houston we were able to arrive at the show just in time to get the first person that I had an autograph ticket for. Ironically, it would also be the best guy that I would get all weekend.

Had I not been holding the jersey in the photo I would bet that 75% of the people reading this would not recognize who the guy on the right was, and understandably so. He is not looking all too great, but none the less I was able to get the great Nolan Ryan to sign my authentic Mitchell and Ness jersey.

It was a great honor getting to meet Ryan, who was not only one of the best pitchers in baseball history, but also in Angels history. Unfortunately he's only come to California once in the past several years, so I figured that this would be my best, if not only shot of meeting him.

After getting Ryan I had to run, and I literally mean run, back to the car to get my football for Len Dawson. Dawson was scheduled to sign after Ryan, but since Nolan was taking so long to get through his massive line, Dawson had already finished his by the time I got my jersey signed. I did just barely catch him as he was about to head to the back room and we talked for a few minutes before he signed my football.

My final autograph of the day came from Cowboys HOF'er Bob Lilly. With the purchase of each autograph ticket you were supposed to receive one free inscription from Lilly. When I got up to the table I asked for the "Mr Cowboys" inscription on my Dallas mini helmet, but Lilly ended up putting both that and "HOF 80" on it as well.

My second day at the show was much more eventful than my first. That's because there was going to be many more baseball legends on hand as compared to just Nolan Ryan on Saturday. My first autograph came from one of my favorite players when I first got in to baseball, Lance Berkman. I got him on a ROMLB with "2011 WS Champs".

One thing that I noticed about Berkman was that he took a lot of pride in other people's items. He would make sure that each pen was prepped well and even asked for a really thin Sharpie on the guys cards in front of me. It was nice to see him actually care about the autograph as opposed to just signing it with whatever.

Signing at the same time as Berkman was Roger Clemens. I really wanted Clemens autograph to go along with my Barry Bonds items that I got last year. I only had one inscription ticket for Clemens, but I decided to ask for "86 AL CY/MVP" just to see if I'd get away with it. The handler next to him didn't say a thing when I asked Clemens the inscription and he ended up turning it in to two separate inscriptions. 

Right after Clemens was Andre Dawson and Steve Carlton. I also had a Craig Biggio ticket at the same time but since his line was ridiculously long, I decided to get Dawson and Carlton first.

By then the Biggio line had calmed down, so I jumped in it and got my authentic Astros jersey signed with "HOF 15".

Aside from Ryan and Clemens, Biggio was one of the guys that I was most looking forward to getting. I had been hoping that he got in the Hall of Fame since his first year on the ballot, and the timing of his election worked out perfectly for me.

After Biggio I had tickets for Ozzie Smith and Wade Boggs. Both guys were extremely nice and I ended up paying for some extra inscriptions for both of them.

The final autograph that I got for myself came from the newest Arizona Diamondbacks GM, Dave Stewart. I was happy to see Stewart's name added to the show since I always passed on him when he was an agent in the LA area. Luckily I was able to find a 1989 World Series baseball and got him to sign it with the WS MVP inscription.

My actual final autograph came from Roy Oswalt. Oswalt was a part of a package deal that I boguht which included line priority passes. The passes proved to be extremely helpful, but I wasn't extremely interested in Oswalt, so I offered to get my friend Rob a card done for his set. Oswalt was probably the least friendly of the guys I met. He barely acknowledged anyone and looked at me like I was from a different planet when I told him to "have a nice day". the whole interaction was strange but it assured me that I didn't want his autograph in my collection. Never the less the card came out fine.

Overall the entire weekend was great and meeting so many legends and Hall of Fame members in just two days was priceless. I look forward to my next Tristar show and will certainly start to frequent it over GTSM. Both of GT's shows that I have attended were laughable compared to this one in all aspects. Hopefully this is the start of another great season of baseball graphing. Thanks for reading!


  1. Wow! So many great autographs! I'm having a hard time picking a favorite, but it would probably be the Nolan Ryan jersey. Great inscriptions! The Ozzie Smith Gold Glove baseball is great! The Biggio jersey is really sweet!

  2. Excellent post. I just read this which is why it's so long after the event. I often go to the San Francisco Tristar show because it is an autograph haven, just so darn expensive. This haul had to have set you back a couple grand but in the long run these are awesome pieces. Have you thought about going to the Chicago national run by Tristar? It's a dream world for guys into our hobby.