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.

Under The Tree: 1983 Tonka NFL Players Figures & Vans

Sports toys of the past can be quite interesting to look back on.  Your options are entertaining.  One of these options comes from Tonka.  There aren’t too many kids who didn’t play with a Tonka Truck growing up at one time or another.

In 1983, Tonka released a line of NFL themed toys featuring figures and vans.  These figures are not player specific, although each one does come with a bunch of stickers containing jersey numbers that you can place on the figure and imagine its a certain player.  They are cheaply put together, and the helmets don’t even have the team logos.  Tonka describes them as: “NFL Players are the collectible, fully articulated action figures, from your favorite NFL Teams.  Each player comes with his own display stand, decal sheet for decorating, and a team emblem.  There are figures for all 28 NFL Teams.  Be the first on your block to collect them all.

Painted on helmets make these things look like Hannibal Lecter.

That same year, Tonka made NFL inspired team vans.  Each van came packaged with an according NFL figure and bench.

Introducing Lil’ Troops

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The 4th of July is right around the corner.  Time for hamburgers, hot dogs, and the most patriotic collectibles around… Lil’ Troops.

The Party Animal, Inc, makers of such fine products as Lil’ Teammates and TeenyMates, have rolled out a new line of toys that all Americans will love – Lil’ Troops.  Lil’ Troops are fully licensed, 3″ tall vinyl figures.  They’re available at Toys “R” Us, local AAFES Exchange Stores, and various other online shops.  Lil’ Troops also help big troops!  A portion of each Lil’ Troops sale is devoted to U.S. Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs.

Series 1 has 5 figures that have a MSRP of $7.99 each.

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Infantryman

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Desert Trooper

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Recon Scout

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Rescue Pilot

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Urban Trooper

MLB TeenyMates Are Here!

TeenyMates would like to welcome a new addition to their family – MLB TeenyMates.  Now MLB fans can take advantage of the fun these little guys bring to the table.  Its been almost two years since TeenyMates made their debut, and collectors seem to really enjoy them.  When I say really enjoy them, I mean REALLY enjoy them.  Some of the rare chase figures are commanding major prices on the secondary market.

All of the greatness that TeenyMates brought to their NFL, NHL, and NBA sets can be found within their MLB figures too.

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Within each pack, you’ll find (2) 1″ vinyl figures and (2) puzzle pieces.  Collect all 30 MLB teams.

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While opening your packs, keep an eye open for the (4) rare figures randomly thrown in.

Flashback Product of the Week: 1983 Tudor Games NFL Huddles Mascot Figures

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What is it about toys from the 80’s that drive prices through the roof?  It has to be the nostalgic factor.

Tudor Games is best known for it’s vibrating electronic tabletop football game.  Outside the realm of tabletop football, Tudor Games did go off and make some other sports related toys.  One of their ventures was their line of NFL Huddles Mascots.  These lovable mascots could be found as stuffed toys, trading cards, pins, cars, and miniature figures.  They had these little guys plastered on anything and everything.  Of all the items they made, their miniature figures and stuffed toys are what collectors seem to want the most.

The miniature figure line covers all 28 teams, just like most of their other NFL Huddles Mascots products.  They contain no moving parts and come packaged on a cheap piece of cardboard.  For being just the most basic form of a toy, these things can carry one heck of a price.  As it is with most collectibles, condition is everything.  People want these mint in package and untouched as much as possible.  Prices can be all over the place.  Some figures sealed in their original packs sell for $20.00, while others can go for as much as $150.00.  That’s not a bad return for something that could be purchased for $2.99 in 1983.  If you think that’s crazy, a collector recently purchased a Buccaneers plush for over $400.00.  The NFL Huddles card set doesn’t have much value.  Just like most card sets from the 80’s.

2013 Topps Big League Minis Coming Next Summer

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Look out Lil’ Teammates.  You’ve got some competition.  This June, Topps plans to release 2013 Topps Big League Minis.  These 3″ vinyl figures will come in packs, and you can try to collect the entire 28-figure set.  Each pack will contain (1) figure.  Unlike Lil’ Teammates, these figures will be of specific players.  There is even word that they plan to make some variation figures to keep an eye out for.

It doesn’t surprise me that Topps decided to venture into this market.  Just take a look at what one of the rare TeenyMates figures recently sold for.  Collectible vinyl figures are hot!

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Kubel, Guthrie, Rivera Highlight New Minifigures From OYO Sports Toys

Check out the new minifigures from OYO Sports Toys.  These guys are awesome!!!  Growing up I remember playing with building toys all the time.  They are completely compatible with LEGOS, and soon should be available for sale.

Who would you like to see get turned into a minifigure?  I’d like to see them do legends like Ruth, Mantle, Clemente, etc…

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Ricky Nolasco

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Jeremy Guthrie

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Paul Konerko

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Kevin Youkilis

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Mariano Rivera

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Jason Kubel

Lil’ Teammates Series 2 NFL Throwbacks

Coming soon to the Lil’ Teammates family will be their much anticipated Series 2 NFL Throwback figures.  Last week I talked to my contact at Lil’ Teammates and they are back ordered on many of their Series 2 figures.

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What we have pictured below is probably the rarest Lil’ Teammates figure made.  There are only 1,200 of them.  They were given to kids during the 2011 All-Star Game FanFest on July 8.  On a good day, they can sell for $20.00 to $30.00 a piece.  I’m glad to see Lil’ Teammates is getting into things like this.

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Lil’ Teammates Series 2 Coming This Summer

Lil’ Teammates plans to release their Series 2 line of figures this summer.  Today on their Facebook page they posted an image of one of the figures.  Looks like collectors can look forward to seeing some lineman football players at least.

Be sure to follow them on Twitter too.

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College Baseball Comes To Lil’ Teammates

Baseball season is almost here, and Lil’ Teammates would like to introduce their first line of college figures.  Right now the only baseball college teams available are Clemson and LSU.  More will be added soon!

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