RUSK, TX (KTRE) - Russel Turner lives in Rusk but his heart belongs to the Houston Astros.
"I grew up in Houston," Turner said. "I was in the Dayton area and we did not have a lot so when we got to go to Astros game it was a big deal."
Twenty-five years ago and 162 miles north of Minute Maid Park, Turner opened his restaurant, All-Star Bar-B-Q. Now it sets as a shrine to all things Houston Astros.
"Everyone was using license plates in the barbeque business so I wanted to be different," Turner said. "It started with just baseball and then a couple of years later why not do Astros. That is my favorite team. It always has been and always will be."
So one piece of merchandise turned into another and then another. Soon his business was filling up.
"It is here to be eye candy while you get some great food," Turner said.
25 years after he opened he tries no to think about how much money he has spent on memorabilia.
"It is hard to say," Turner said. "My Ebay account shows over 300 purchases," Turner said. "I don't want to say too much because my wife might here it. When we go to games though, I make it a point to go to the team store and get a souvenir."
The shelves are filled with everything from autographed baseballs to lunchboxes. If you look close enough unique items like a Santa wearing an Astros jersey can be seen. There are even pieces from when the team was known as the Houston Colt 45's. There is something for everyone. His favorite pieces revolve around the iconic Astrodome.
"Anybody that has ever been to it, can tell you how they felt the first time they saw it," Turner said. "When you walk in it took your breath away. Nothing had ever been built like it."
In 2005, The Astros made it to the World Series but lost to the Chicago White Sox. Turner did not go to the games. He watched from East Texas. His son is currently serving in the U.S. military. This weekend, Turner hopes to make this series special with his son.
"My son is stationed in Colorado Springs," Turner said. "He was given permission to come home this weekend. I did not get lucky in the ticket lottery but we have talked and we are planning on going to Houston for game 4 on Saturday and hopefully we can find some tickets."
The series against the Dodgers, brings up memories for Turner. In the 1980s the Astros and Dodgers were division rivals with the Dodgers in the NL West. The teams had classic battles with each coming out with victories.
"They were our rivals," Turner said. "We hated the Dodgers. We hated Tommy Lasorda. I am greedy now. Just winning a game isn't enough. We are in it to win it this year. I think we have the team to do it."
For now, Turner is soaking it all in every day as he continues to cook. He walks around with a smile knowing the team of young stars has come a long way over the past five season.