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Houston warehouse holding baseball”s memories
By: Danny Laurel
Somewhere around the east side of Houston resides an unassuming warehouse that contains one of the most magnificent collections of vintage sports memorabilia in the country. No, it”s not a museum, nor is it a private collection; but the inventory for dealer Kent Sessions- who happens to own and operate, The History of the Game.
According to their website, they are the internet”s “Largest dealer of Babe Ruth and other high-end memorabilia”, but in fact- this place is more of an almanac for the game of baseball. Sports Card Magazine was allowed access to their private warehouse and was permitted to take a few pictures. As Mr. Sessions informed me on a couple of occasions, ” No one knows about this yet, It”s going to be a surprise when I show up at The National”. The “National” of course is in reference to the National Sports Card Convention that will be held later this year in Chicago.
One can”t help walk around with their jaw on the floor. From the moment that you walk in, you”re bombarded with framed, signed photos hanging on the wall. You begin to notice immediately why they don”t want to draw any attention to themselves from the outside. Every inch of space is covered with artifacts from baseball”s present and past.
Mr. Sessions is more than eager to show me around, immediately going to the main vault he pulls out a baseball that is signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. “This is one of the finest examples of a Babe Ruth baseball signature and it also has Lou Gehrig.” I almost fainted. The sweat was going from my forehead to the palms of my hand as I stand there admiring. I begin to notice one of his employees begin to chuckle from each gasp of air I seem to take.
One artifact after another begins to appear from the vault. I also spend a little more time acknowledging my surrounds and begin to notice the assortment of shotguns and ammo that are in my sights. This place is no joke.
We go from room to room as Mr. Sessions pulls out items stacked on shelves, or sitting on tables. We enter a room that is just for various authenticators to visit as all of their merchandise has either been authenticated by PSA or JSA. ” Here is a stack of Ali”s” Sessions exclaims, pointing to the stack of vintage magazines that all feature Muhammad Ali”s signature in them.
We pass by various showcases that are used when they go to different collectors shows, and there are the shelves of vintage wax that are part of the big surprise at The National. “They aren”t going to know what hit them” Sessions joyfully spits out. I keep my word, but what was on the shelves was pretty magnificent, wax-wise.
Room after room filled with bits of history from the game; Mantles, DiMaggios, Jackie Robinsons, vintage game tickets- including at program and ticket to the 1986 All-Star game that was held in Houston. “I was at that game. That”s when I first started collecting”. Sessions remembers. He has a certain way of speaking that is slow and thought out, like he”s carefully examining what he”s going to say next. You begin to notice that this is what he knows, and this is what his passion is. Sports, and the memories that come from all of this memorabilia.
He has worked for and works with all of the top names in the sports memorabilia industry. He talks about working with Jeff Rosenberg who founded TriStar Productions, and mentions owners of card manufacturing companies who request merchandise from him, but he”s quick to remind me that he”s not in the wholesale business. He”s purely retail and that is what side of the coin he represents.
The History of the Game has its own , but a lot of the their sales derive fromand various trade/card shows throughout the year. At the Tristar collectors show in Houston they always have a large assortment of frames and, of course, vintage sports memorabilia.
One would believe that being surrounded by all of these gems day in and day out would numb a brain, but after talking to the different employees you begin to realize that no one becomes numb when there”s a signed Babe Ruth baseball merely a few feet away.