If you grew up in the 80s, your action figures likely consisted of G.I. Joe, Masters of the Universe and Star Wars.
For the young sports fan, your outlets traditionally were reserved to trading cards. And as fun as collecting cards was, at the end of the day, you couldn’t play with or enjoy them on the same level as an action figure.
That’s why many cards ended up between bike spokes.
That was, until 1988 when Kenner’s Starting Lineup stepped into the batter’s box of action figures.
The concept was the brainchild of NFL Hall of Famer Pat McInally, who originally pitched the idea to Kenner after noticing a lack of sports representation in the action figure universe.
Standing 4 inches tall, with some exceptions for basketball players, each figure depicted a professional athlete in an action pose.
The debut collection in 1988 featured 346 figures from Major League Baseball (124 players), the NFL (137) and the NBA (85). That broke down to at least four players from every team, except for Canadian franchises, which only received one figure per.
Despite the vast size of the collection, Kenner sold the figures regionally, making it difficult for collectors to amass the entire set.
Kenner, later purchased by Hasbro, saw sales sag in later years, simply because it had made all of the best players in its enormous debut set in 1988.
Starting Lineup, or SLU, eventually expanded to include classic Hall of Fame players and specialty series and sets, athletes from other sports and more.
Hasbro discontinued the figures in 2001, but not before McInally’s creation netted upwards up $700 million in sales.
The company broke the long hiatus this year with Hasbro’s 2022 NBA Starting Lineup Series 1, an 8-figure set of current NBA players, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic and LeBron James.
Click the link to see how you can pre-order yours from Entertainment Earth, and save 10 percent with free shipping as a fan of hobbyDB.
Did or do you collect Starting Lineup figures? Tell, or show, us in the comments below!
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nice read,i still have a few of the originals.i also have some of the group ones like the dream team and the olympic gymnastics and idea on their value?
Hi Greg, we have just started adding values to these. Want to join and help? Here is more info https://help.hobbydb.com/support/solutions/articles/36000111341-meet-the-squad.
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