Saturday, June 7, 2008

Starting Lineup Figures

I remember how excited everyone was when Starting Lineup (or SLU for short) released their first figures in 1988, and I couldn't wait to get the Rickey version. Unfortunately, because they were so popular, the toy stores in the area were always out of them, and the dealers at the card shows that did have them, were always asking way more than I was able to pay. I initially missed out on both the 1988 and 1989 Rickey figures, but finally acquired my first one in 1990, and now have every one that they have made (I think).

Luckily for me, those first two figures had Rickey in a Yankees uniform, while all the rest show him playing with the A's, so I wasn't missing much. The first two pictures (the 1988 and 1989 SLU's) were borrowed from eBay, as I couldn't possible have left mine in the package! Look for a post in the future with more details on the cards, coins, and posters that were included along with the figures.

The figure sliding on the left is the 1988 figure, while the one on the right is the "Series II" figure from 1989. The 1988 figure is the only one without a series number, which I'm assuming is because the manufacturer had no idea how well they would go over, and didn't even know if there would be a Series II. I finally acquired both of these early figures many years later, with the advent of eBay making collecting a lot easier.

The next three figures are from 1990 (Series III), 1991 (Series IV), and 1992 (Series V). As would be expected, the pictures of the "mint-in-box" figures are not mine, and were taken from completed auctions.

I've always liked the 1992 sliding figure, depicting Rickey sliding head first into the base. Since Rickey almost never slid feet first while stealing, it's much more accurate than the sliding figure from 1988. Even though Starting Lineup continued producing figures until 2001, the 1992 figure was the last time that Rickey was included in the set.

This group figure is an "Award Winners Lineup" produced in 1991 to commemorate the MVP, Cy Young, and ROY award winners from 1990. I purchased this "as is" from eBay, and never even had the box (this picture actually comes from Amazon).

This Headline Collection figure was produced in 1991 to commemorate Rickey breaking Lou Brock's single season stolen base record of 118. The figure is actually the same as the base figure from 1991, only with Rickey wearing the A's road gray jersey rather than the home whites.

What has always bothered me, however, is that the figure doesn't accurately depict what's going on in the article. When Rickey broke the record in 1982, the A's jersey's looked very different than they did in 1991, and he wasn't even wearing #24, but #35 at the time. It would have been awesome having a retro Rickey figure, but I guess this one is better than nothing.

Like the figure above, this is part of the Headline Collection, and was released in 1992 to celebrate Rickey setting the all-time stolen base record. Unlike the previous Headline figure, this one was perfectly made, and is probably my favorite of all.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to tell you, I recently got back into collecting cards for my young son (age 3) and because I'm having way more fun than I should be opening packs of baseball cards. I happened upon your blog because Rickey was my favorite player as a kid. I actually have that 1988 figurine sliding into a base! I used to trade all my Daryl Strawberry cards to my best friend for his Rickey Henderson cards. So cool to see someone else that enjoyed watching Rickey play. Thanks much!

ManOfSteal said...

Thanks for checking out the blog! It's always nice to hear that others enjoy reading about my collection. There was nothing better than watching Rickey steal a base in person. He could still probably do it today!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I happened to come across your site while looking up values for 1991 Rickey Henderson Starting Lineup Special Edition (with collector coin). I have several Starting Lineup figures I'd like to sell if you or anyone you know is interested. Let me know! My email is chadbowman25 at Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

The 2nd pic is an error. Ricky batted right and threw left!!

ManOfSteal said...

They definitely messed up on the L/R issue, but unfortunately never corrected it.

Anonymous said...

Are they worth anything $$$ wise being an error?

Anonymous said...

What are they worth