Monday, March 18, 2013

My Top 15 Red Sox Starting Lineup Figures

I was pretty late to the Starting Lineup craze.  I think the first time I picked one up was in 1997, just a few short years before they were discontinued.  And of course by that time they were releasing fewer and fewer figures.  When I discovered Ebay though I was able to go back and get a bunch of figures that I never was able to get before.

I liked the figures themselves, but it's the fact that they included cards that really sold them for me.  I could add a card to my collection and display a figure.

So without further ado, these are my Top 15 Red Sox Starting Lineup figures.

15.  PEDRO MARTINEZ (1999)
This was one of my most anticipated pieces.  It was the first one of Pedro with the Red Sox.  There is not much to the pose, but it was Pedro.  And he was quickly becoming the greatest pitcher in the game.  I have three pieces of Pedro.  Always on the lookout for more.

14.  MO VAUGHN (1998)
It is kind of a neat pose and it was a nice piece of one of my favorite players.  But that is about all I really have to say about it.

It is really the pose that makes this one interesting.  I am pretty sure there are others out there like it, but this is the only Red Sox one like it.  It definitely stands out in my collection.

This one made it this high because it was my first special edition SLU.  The pose is kind of boring unfortunately but it is the only Yaz I have.  He does have some other pieces in other special edition sets, but I have not gotten around to getting any of those.

11.  JOHN VALENTIN (1996)
This one has a couple of things going for it, helping it to place so high.  For one, this is the only John Valentin figure released by Kenner.  Secondly, and most importantly, this was my very first SLU.  The pose is not anything to write home about, but it was my first.  I remember seeing it on the wall of a local card shop with a low price tag, and I decided to take the plunge.

10.  SCOTT COOPER (1995)
Again, the pose is not all that interesting, but this was the only Scott Cooper figure issued.  I remember hearing about its existence from a Beckett magazine, but I never actually saw it until I got on Ebay.  What makes this one particularly interesting is that Cooper is not actually pictured on the card, instead it is Damon Berryhill.

Much of the reason for this placement is the pose.  I prefer the fielding poses personally over the hitting poses.  There just is not all that much you can really do with the hitting poses.  This is the only Greenwell figure I have, but I am aware of a few other figures in existence.

8.  NICK ESASKY (1990)
Again, I love the pose on this one.  Esasky stretching to make the catch from another infielder.  This is the only Esasky SLU showing him in a Red Sox uniform, obviously since he only spent one year with the team.  The only downside to this one is that one of the cards shows Esasky with the Reds.  I would almost consider picking up the Todd Benzinger SLU just to switch the rookie year cards.  Benzinger has the same pose.

7.  WADE BOGGS (1990)
I have a couple of Boggs SLUs, he was my first favorite player after all.  But this one is my favorite because of the fielding pose.  The others all show him hitting.  I also love the two cards along with it.  This is one that I searched for for a long time.  I almost bought it at the store when I bought the Valentin, but someone else grabbed it when I set it down for a moment.  It was years before I saw it again.

I do not have a lot of the special edition figures, but this Cy Young was one I had to add.  I love the vintage uniform and the old-style glove and pitching pose.  Plus, it's Cy Freaking Young.  There actually are a couple of other Cy Young figures out there, but this is the only one I have managed to get.

One of the other few special editions I have.  I had to add one of the best hitter in Red Sox history.  I do like this hitting pose and the uniform and card both look great here.  Williams has another piece and one day I might pick it up.  It has been awhile since I bought one.

4.  ELLIS BURKS (1990)
Ellis Burks has some nice SLUs, but none of them come close to matching the awesomeness of this one.  This is the only Red Sox SLU I have seen where the player is on the basepaths.  That added to the fact that there are two cards included and you have a great piece.

How could I possibly pass up The Babe in a Red Sox uniform?  There just is no possible way to do it.  Plus the great pose that I have never seen on another piece and of course the card.  It's Babe Ruth, come on.

It is a great pose and also Nomar's very first SLU piece.  This was a little expensive when it first came out, but my grandparents bought it for me for my birthday when I turned 17.  It was a great gift.

1.  LEE SMITH (1989)
I really do not know what it is about this one.  The pose is not terribly exciting.  Maybe it's the fact that it's Lee Smith, and maybe it's because there are no other Red Sox closers who had SLUs.  I am a big fan of Smith's even though I never actually got to see him pitch for the Red Sox since I started watching the team the year after he was gone.  He is one of those players I just try to pick up as much Red Sox stuff as possible.  And this was definitely a goal.

I have just a couple of disappointments from these.  One, they stopped making them.  Two, Boston never got a catcher.  There was a large team piece that had Rick Cerone, but no individual pieces.  And I don't think the team piece had any cards.  If it had gone longer, we might have gotten a Carlton Fisk Cooperstown collection or a Jason Varitek.  It would have been nice if Tony Pena had gotten a piece, but no.  So no catchers, and that is a shame.  It also would have been nice if the Bruce Hurst figure had been released.  Prototypes exist but are hard to find.  That was the only southpaw SLU made for the Red Sox.

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