Nothing Says it’s Christmas Time like Starting Lineup Baseball Figures

It’s December and the first dusting of snow hit the ground today. It’s getting closer to Christmas time, and when you’re my age (34); Christmas time is really more about reflecting on the warm memories of the past and what you can give your kids and others.

And for me….. NOTHING compared to an approaching Christmas holiday in the late 80’s and early 90’s than Kenner’s collectible line of Starting Lineup Figures.

This somehow became the undertaking of my grandpa and grandma. I feel so sorry for them – and they’re both deceased – but somehow they got wrangled into being the ones who would buy me these things in droves. I would call them both and hound them about who I wanted, who were they seeing in stores, asking for hints; the drill went on the entire month of December until they would fly home from Florida a few days before Christmas Eve.

My grandfather Rocco was extremely short tempered. Usually a few days before they flew home, I would push things a bit too far asking for hints or break into the hidden-present stronghold and tear open a piece of wrapping paper to reveal exactly who I was getting for Christmas. This led to old Rocco getting a little too fired up and exploding on me and ranting to my grandmother that he was done getting me Starting Lineup figures. And my grandma would talk him down from the ledge each year. These are the truly golden memories looking back.

I remember the first night I saw one of these. It was around this time of year and my dad and I were in a Wal-Mart or something and I saw a Barry Larkin, Fernando Valenzuela, and Darryl Strawberry. Dad was nice enough to not only get me one, but the old boy bought me all three.

I was instantly hooked. I probably had over 150 or 200 MLB figures in my room as a kid. I loved baseball cards, and autographs, but these were at the center of my collecting obsession. And as I grew older, Starting Lineups disappeared for good.

With what has been written about them through the years (FOX Sports, Grantland, ESPN Radio, Kenner Collector) I am not alone in how I felt about them.

We went without quality MLB figures to collect for a long time, until recently. I bought a few Imports Dragon MLB figures this past year for my mancave, and there is a new line on the way with really big names like Corey Seager (pictured above), Trevor Story, and Chris Davis coming out; so it looks like if you liked to collect baseball figures and still want to get back into it, there’s a chance to do so.

But this time of year and seeing the tree always takes me back in time in my mind for a minute or two. Watching the old commercials warm my heart in a way you’ll only understand if you were a kid when Starting Lineups were the craze of every kid’s holiday.

Starting Lineups: ah, I miss you so. Take me back to the days of being a kid when these were ‘hot’ so I can find a few under my tree this year. And gramps, if you’re up there looking down on me I’m sorry I was such a knucklehead from around Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. I love you man.