HOUSTON (FOX 26) - The Houston Astros' super success is breathing new life into what has been a dying sector, namely sports card and memorabilia collecting. You can't throw a baseball in this town without hitting someone who has a new 'stros cap or t-shirt. The whole city seems to be trying to get its hands on Houston Astros anything and that is helping Bayou City sports collectors make a comeback.
“This year has been incredible because of the Astros and how well they've done,” says Howard Lau, owner of Houston Sports Connection. When Lau opened his store on Westheimer Road 30 years ago, sports memorabilia shops were almost as popular as convenience stores.
“Back then, there were hundreds," describes Lau. "One almost on every block it seemed." Now, there are maybe, a handful of stores in Houston where you can buy sports collectibles.
“I actually had a hard time finding a shop," explains sports fan Hector Collazo. "I had to go through Google, called a few friends and they told me about this location.”
Collazo, like the rest of the city, is looking for anything Astros.
“I used to collect cards when I was a kid," adds Collazo. "I used to sell, trade but I stopped. He does say he will start the hobby again.
The 'Stros soaring success is certainly launching this sports relic retail shop into a victory of its own.
“We have what the people want," says Lau. "We have autographs. We have cards. We have team sets.”
Hasan Qanbar stopped by Houston Sports Connection and brought with him a box of thousands of baseball cards that he's been collecting since he was six years old. Now he's trading them and looking for 'stros stuff.
”Jerseys, shirts and baseballs,” says Qanbar with a smile.
For the last few years, buyers acquiring athletic keepsakes were doing so online, but the home team's trip to the World Series has changed that.
“Because it's better face to face,” says Qanbar.
“Americans will always collect," adds Lau. "It's just in our blood.”
Some who don't have a big budget are intimidated by sports collection shops but you don't have to be. There are some items as low as $5.