Product Highlight: 1999 Topps Action Flats Baseball

I can still remember going into my local card shop and seeing these crazy little dudes for sale.

The Topps Action Flats line actually began in 1998 with the NFL. Football fans got another dose in 1999 as well. But baseball fans only received one set which was released in 1999. Another baseball set was in the works before the product line got officially dropped altogether.

What are Action Flats? An Action Flat is a small (flat) figure that comes on a stand. It was another attempt at competing with Starting Lineup. The 1999 Topps Action Flats Baseball set consists of (12) players:

  • Chipper Jones
  • Greg Maddux
  • Mark McGwire
  • Sammy Sosa
  • Kerry Wood
  • Barry Bonds
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • Cal Ripken
  • Juan Gonzalez
  • Nomar Garciaparra
  • Derek Jeter

The Action Flat figure is posed to mimic the image on the accompanying card. Cards look just like the flagship set, but have a “Action Flats” foil stamp on them.

Topps did make some parallels to chase. Away and Classic Jersey parallels apply to the figures only. Classic Jersey parallels are more difficult to find. The cards that come with the figures are the same whether the figure is a parallel or not.

Props to Topps for trying something different. But the Action Flats line never really caught on.

Card of the Day: Razor Ramon 1995 Action Packed WWF #3

Card of the Day: Luis Aparicio 1993 Action Packed All-Star Gallery Series 2 #122

Card of the Day: Brett Favre 1991 Action Packed Rookie Update #21

Card of the Day: Lawrence Taylor 1995 Action Packed WWF WrestleMania XI

Under The Tree: 1977-80 Pro Sports Marketing NFL Action Team Mates

Remember the days of flipping through a catalog and circling all the stuff you wanted for Christmas? Those days are long gone.

Sold exclusively through the Sears and J.C. Penney Christmas catalogs between 1977 and 1980 were the Pro Sports Marketing NFL Action Team Mates. Measuring 7.5″ tall, these NFL-themed action figures came with two sets of interchangeable numbers, removable helmet, football, playbook, and display stand. They aren’t player specific, but you could certainly place whatever jersey number you wanted on them and pretend it was Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, etc…

Figures which have never been removed from their box can easily come in pieces. Small rubber bands were used to hold the limbs together. Over the years these rubber bands can disintegrate leaving you with a box of loose body parts.

Today these figures are highly sought after. Triple digit sales are not uncommon for loose figures. Individual parts even have a strong demand.

Compared to the collectible figures we have today, these look quite generic. For a long time this is how sports action figures looked. When these were released, we were still years away from Starting Lineup figures.

I wonder if any of these guys found their way over to Barbie’s Dream House and told Ken to take a hike?

Card of the Day: John Elway 1995 Action Packed #14

Product Highlight: 1994 Action Packed NFL COASTARS

Action Packed lasted longer than most new card companies that got their start during the junk wax era.  They made football, baseball, basketball, racing, and wrestling cards.  Getting into the hockey card business was a top priority, but it never fully panned out.  Almost all of their hockey products were issued as promos.

Given the amount of sports cards that flowed into the hobby during the 80s and 90s, Action Packed needed to do something in order to separate themselves from their competitors.  Their answer was thicker card stock, rounded corners, and “puffy” pictures.  I call them “puffy” because the images are raised resembling those stickers that became popular during the 80s.  The “puffy” picture became Action Packed’s signature style for all of their products.

Action Packed sure had it’s share of unusual products to collect.  In 1994 they introduced their line of COASTARS.  These are actual coasters that you can throw on the table and place your drink on.  Six coasters come shrink-wrapped to a sheet.  You need to punch-out the coaster from the sheet in order to use it.  The checklist features players like Boomer Esiason, Dan Marino, Emmitt Smith, and Jerry Rice.  One side of the coaster has the player in their home uniform.  Flip it over and you’ll find them pictured in their away uniform.  COASTARS is one of the only products Action Packed made that doesn’t include “puffy” pictures.  Probably so you wouldn’t spill your drink.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but COASTARS didn’t catch on.  Fun novelty, but no major demand.

Under The Tree: 1997 Best Heroes Of The Gridiron Action Figures

Best was the go-to manufacturer in the 90’s and early 2000’s when it came to MiLB licensed cards.  They were based out of Austell, Georgia, and issued some nice stuff.  In my mind they never rose to the level of importance like some of the other manufacturers.  Today they are no longer around.

Its normal for card companies to try out different ideas.  In 1997, Best took a shot at officially licensed college football action figures.  Each figure measures 6.5″ tall, and comes with a removable helmet.  The checklist for the 1997 set consists of (12) players:

  • Herschel Walker – Georgia
  • Errict Rhett – Florida
  • Reggie White – Tennessee
  • Derrick Thomas – Florida State
  • Brett Favre – Southern Miss
  • Ki Jana Carter – Penn State
  • Dan Marino – Pittsburgh
  • Rod Woodson – Purdue
  • Marshall Faulk – San Diego State
  • Herman Moore – Virginia
  • Desmond Howard – Michigan
  • Deion Sanders – Florida State

At the time of their release, Stating Lineup was still the king of sports figures.  Best’s Heroes Of The Gridiron were a little easier to play with though because of their full articulation.  Best released another set of figures in 1998 under the same name.  That set has (18) figures in it.

The line of figures released by Best never really took off like Starting Lineup did.  All of the figures made by Best can easily be found for $5 to $10.  I’m sure there were some football fans who had these waiting under the Christmas tree for them back in ’97 and ’98.

Card of the Day: Jeff Gordon 1993 Action Packed Young Guns #61