2001 McFarlane Big League challenge – Mark McGwire & Barry Bonds

At the time I picked these two figures up,MLB was in full swing(literally) and more popular then it had ever been.In retrospect the success MLB saw in the early 2,000’s  was mostly attributed to the use of steroids and the frequency in which players were hitting home-runs.No two players reaped the benefits more than McGwire and Bonds did.In baseball you are considered to be a great power hitter if you were able to hit 30-35 HR’s in a season. Bonds and McGwire were hitting 55-70 HR’s a season, so go figure.It  was ridiculous but fascinating at the same time.So naturally I just had to have McFarlane figures of  the two most popular players at the time because after all these would eventually soar in value after these guys got enshrined into the  Hall of Fame…right?Wrong!Jose Canseco (ex-team mate of  Mark McGwire) comes out to the press about the wide spread use of steroids in the game.Bonds,McGwire and a zillion other superstars of the game all get ousted for steroid use and accused of illegitimately  breaking as well as setting MLB records.The fact that neither of these guys  are ever getting into the Hall of Fame goes without saying and pretty much anything bearing their names has plummeted in value. So while the market for these players has shrunk,there is a market nonetheless and while these figures are of players who represent all that is unholy in the game of baseball,they are  McFarlane’s and anybody who’s ever collected these knows what a thing of beauty they are.

 

 

 

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1998 Kenner Starting Lineup- Jose Canseco 9-24/9-30

My interest  in  G.I. Joe and action figures in general began to slowly  fade away in the late 80’s or so and baseball and outdoor sports quickly filled that void.Although I was a NY Met fan at heart,my favorite American League team was  the Oakland Athletics.In the 80’s this team was super popular and I guess the reason I loved them so much was because every one of there players looked like they came right off of the pages of a Marvel comic!I’m serious..no joke!These guys were chiseled and hit the ball 450-500 ft. out of the ball park on a regular basis.They had sluggers like Dave Parker,Dave Henderson,Mark McGwire and my personal favorite  Jose Canseco.I was a huge Canseco fan growing up and had to know what he did,where and how he did it in every single one of his at bats. Very seldom did I get a chance to see the A’s play during the regular season unless they played the Yankees.I remember calling an MLB hotline to get the scoop on what the A’s did when the games weren’t televised in my area. Now around that same time Kenner released MLB Starting Lineup’s and I collected the heck out of em’.These cool little baseball figurines were just what the doctor ordered for a kid who was just getting over action figures and falling in love with Major League Baseball.I immediately picked up a Keith Hernandez,Dwight Gooden,Kirby Puckett and a few other favorites of mine but the Jose Canseco figure eluded me.In 1988 Canseco set an MLB record by becoming the first player to ever hit 40 homeruns and steal 40 bases in one season and that year Kenner released a figure commemorating the historic feat.Eventually I had mowed enough lawns to save up and ultimately buy that very same Jose Canseco Starting Lineup figure!Unfortunately I have zero of the Starting Lineup figures I owned as a kid so a while back I stumbled upon this version of Canseco and picked him up for old time’s sake.I thought It would somehow rekindle my love for Starting Lineup’s and lead me to start collecting them again but the figure had no effect on me.McFarlane was out at the time and began releasing some ridiculously realistic sports figures that made Kenner’s Starting Lineup’s look like Happy Meal toys.Now I find myself back in Starting Lineup mode and currently have a couple in my sights.I would love to collect all of the Canseco releases as well as some of the ones I owned as a kid.Wish me luck 😉

Gracelyn RePlays – Ichiro Suzuki

With Spring Training already upon us and the Baseball season looming,i thought it would be appropriate to show some love to some of my under exposed  figures in my collection.I really liked this line of MLB figures,even better than McFarlanes to a certain extent.The removable accessories and detailed sculpts were very much comparable to McFarlanes Playmakers and Gracelyn also included a stand with each figure.It’s a shame this line didn’t stand the test of time and while i believe they are still making NFL figures,we will have to wait and see if  Gracelyn will take another swing at making MLB figures again!

2007 RePlays Derek Jeter (Home Jersey)

It’s MLB playoff time and sadly my NY Mets have once again suffered through another losing season.There’s always next year.The Yankees on the other hand always seem to be right in the middle of things come playoff time and this guy right here has a lot to do with that.Derek Jeter has to be the most recognized player in the majors and in the entire world of sports for that matter.I am not huge fan of Jeter nor am i big on the Yankees but i know greatness  when i see it.So to me it was a no-brainer to pick this iconic sport stars figure up from a local department store where it sat for days at the bottom of a clearance bin.These RePlays MLB figures were released by a company called Gracelyn  in 2007 along with an NFL line of figures as well.I’ve seen some NFL RePlays since their initial release but no MLB.I’m wondering if McFarlane’s MLB Playmakers had anything to do with that,seeming to be the more popular brand.Who knows.What i do know is that these RePlays figures are very cool,and i wish that Gracelyn would have followed up on them.

2007 RePlays Derek Jeter

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One of the great things about RePlays MLB figures is the use of  logos(checkout the Rawlings mit) and neat accessories they come with.McFarlane Playmakers have great looking figures but fail to use officially licensed logos on any of their figures equipment(at least not the MLB figures ,not sure about the NFL ones).Another cool thing about RePlays is that most of the accessories are removable(check out Jeter’s   shades and baseball)!My only gripe about these figures is that while McFarlane’s Playmakers are fully pose able,RePlays are not.They do have some articulation but not as much as  Playmakers do.Another small problem with  RePlays  is that while trying to pose your figure it’s not uncommon for a leg or an arm to come off  in the process but since these are more for display purposes and not so much an action figure, it’s a nuisance that can be overlooked.I like RePlays and wish Gracelyn would have continued to make these awesome MLB figures!

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