30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Sunday, May 22, 2016

They Aren't Dolls!

It's hard to believe that it has been fifteen years since the final series of Starting Lineup figures were released back in 2001.  Fifteen years.

I collected these sports figures off and on since they were first produced in 1988 and it seems like only yesterday... I would periodically make trips down to Toys 'R Us and Kaybee Toys to see which figures were hanging on their pegs.

Finding a superstar with mint condition packaging felt like you hit the jackpot, because you didn't have to pay the card shop and collectible store prices.  Some of those figures are now residing in my buddy's garage collecting dust in hopes of one day becoming a valued collectible again.

The others?  Well... in an effort to save space... I began opening them up, taking them out of their packages, and lining them up on my office shelves.  The ones that didn't fit were taken to my classroom and are on display there.

My interest in the actual figures has diminished over time.  They're more of a novelty item these days, but I have become obsessed with collecting the trading cards that accompanied those figures.

I'm in the process of building the 1988 Kenner SLU baseball card set.  There were a total of 124 figures released in the inaugural set... and so far I've managed to grab 120 of them.  The Kent Hrbek is my latest addition.  That leaves me with only needing Buddy Bell, John Franco, Nolan Ryan and Kevin Seitzer.  None of these are considered rare, however for some reason people who own these think they're worth much more than I'm willing to pay.

In addition to the set I'm building, I also have two large binders filled with all of my other Starting Lineup cards.  One of them is dedicated to baseball, while the other contains all of the other sports like basketball, football, and hockey.

Last week KevAlan over at CCW added five new cards to my "other sports" binder.  Four of them featured one of my favorite basketball players of the 90's, Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway:

In addition to the cards, he also threw in their respective figures:

Kenner produced a series of figures called Timeless Legends from 1995 to 1998 that included athletes from a variety of sports.  Muhammad Ali was one of three boxers that made the checklist during those years.  Joe Lewis and Sugar Ray Leonard were the other two.  They also produced two individual 12" Ali figures as well as one that featured him with Joe Frazier.

I've always wanted to own the 1998 Timeless Legends Ali... and thanks to KevAlan... I now do:

Collectors who were looking for sports figurines, but wanted something a little different could also collect Corinthian Headliners in the 90's.  

Oversized heads were the trademark of these collectibles.  Most of the ones I've seen are small in size (about 2" tall).  However the McGwire that KevAlan sent is huge.  It's about the same height as your standard bobblehead and it weighs a lot.  He even included the original COA that came with the figure:

Last... but certainly not least... is another Panini Japanese All-Star signature card:

#11 Masai Rokuno

I tried to dig up some information on Mr. Rokuno, but didn't find much.  If any of my fellow Japanese baseball card collectors out there know anything about this guy... please feel free to comment below.

Thanks KevAlan for the nice package of figures and cards.  It's always nice when I'm able to add some new faces to my Kenner SLU binders.  And those figures will be on full display in my new classroom this August.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!


  1. Mr. Masaji Rokuno
    is the SP for Tokai University and Japanese collegiate team played in
    39th USA-Japan International Collegiate Series (2013)
    17th Asian Games (2014 Incheon Korea)

    Now working at Toyota and play for the company team (Amateur League in Aichi Japan)

  2. Looking back, I'm wishing Kenner had though to expand a bit more and do Starting Lineups of wrestlers and boxers, since the actual wrestling figures of the time kind of sucked and were basically statues anyway. I would have loved a Great Muta or Ricky Steamboat figure and card.

  3. While the '88 starting lineups cards are by no means scarce they are considered desirable by those who started in the heart of the junk-wax era. Penny Hardaway was a generational talent who succumbed to injuries at far too young an age. Would have been awesome to see Kenner make starting lineups for the cinematic masterpiece that was Blue Chips. Shaq, Penny, Nick Nolte, Bob Cousy, etc.

  4. I've always been a big fan of SLUs. I actually completed a year set last year but never got around to writing a post about it. That is a TON they did for baseball in 1988. Nowhere near that many for the NBA that year. 1989 is the rare year for the NBA, is that true for baseball as well?

  5. I was never a huge fan of SLUs but I did get my each of sons one figurine of the players they were named for, Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer. They each still have them. Now they reside on desks in their offices at work.

    BTW...I wasn't aware that they did an Ali. that's awesome!

  6. Headliners...yesssssss!

    And those Pennys look sweet all together.

  7. Why does Big Mac look so mad?

  8. gordon - thanks for the info. guess he won't be making the bigs anytime soon... but at least he's making quality cars.

    jason - i'm totally with you on this. i would have been all over a steamboat slu.

    xavier - the '88 design is amazing (imho). the photography was amazing and the design was simple. also liked how they kept the design the same for all three sports, but used red for baseball, blue for basketball, and white for football. as for penny... agree 100%. guy had some skills.

    billy - i'm not sure if the 1989 baseball set is more rare than the 88's... but i know that i have a lot less 89's in my collection. p.s. i hope you write up that post, because i'd love to see that set of yours.

    robert - i have the 1998 cooperstown collection jim palmer figure on one of my office shelves. one of these days, i'd love to add the 1997 cooperstown collection brooks robinson to my pc as well. love the diving pose.

    spastik - lol... i actually never really got into headliners. i owned quite a few of them, but never liked them as much as slu's.

    brady - roid rage? ;)