Monday, December 2, 2019

Starting Lineup - The Lost Years: 1989 Edition

I'm going to do something a little different for the 1989 series of Starting Lineup sets that weren't. In my last post I briefly mentioned Kenner's 1989 NBA series. After producing 85 NBA figures in 1988, Kenner made just five the following year.

Five new figures are better than none - which is how many NHL figures Kenner produced in 1989. So here's my mock checklist for the 1989 Starting Lineup NHL series (we'll get back to the NBA at the end.)

*new player added in 1989

custom card by Gavin
Adams Division

Boston Bruins (5)

  • Ray Bourque
  • Craig Janney*
  • Andy Moog*
  • Cam Neely
  • Glen Wesley*

Buffalo Sabres (4)

  • Dave Andreychuk
  • Phil Housley
  • Christian Ruutu*
  • Pierre Turgeon*

Hartford Whalers (4)

  • Kevin Dineen
  • Ray Ferraro*
  • Ron Francis
  • Peter Sidorkiewicz*

Montreal Canadiens (6)

  • Guy Carbonneau*
  • Chris Chelios
  • Mats Naslund
  • Stephane Richer
  • Patrick Roy
  • Bobby Smith*

Quebec Nordiques (5)

  • Jeff Brown*
  • Michel Goulet
  • Guy Lafleur* (signed with Quebec in July 1989)
  • Joe Sakic*
  • Peter Stastny

    custom card by Gavin
    Patrick Division

    New Jersey Devils (5)

    • Sean Burke*
    • John MacLean*
    • Kirk Muller
    • Walt Poddubny (traded to New Jersey in June 1989)
    • Patrik Sundstrom*

    New York Islanders (2)

    • Pat LaFontaine
    • Brent Sutter*

    New York Rangers (4)

    • Tony Granato*
    • Kelly Kisio*
    • Brian Leetch*
    • Tomas Sandstrom*

    Philadelphia Flyers (6)

    • Pelle Eklund*
    • Ron Hextall 
    • Tim Kerr*
    • Pete Peeters* (signed with Philly in June 1989)
    • Brian Propp
    • Rick Tocchet

    Pittsburgh Penguins (4)
    • Rob Brown*
    • Paul Coffey 
    • Mario Lemieux
    • Dan Quinn

    Washington Capitals (4)

    • Geoff Courtnall*
    • Dale Hunter*
    • Mike Ridley*
    • Scott Stevens

    custom card by Gavin
    Norris Division

    Chicago Blackhaws (5)
    • Dirk Graham*
    • Steve Larmer
    • Dave Manson*
    • Denis Savard
    • Doug Wilson

    Detroit Red Wings (3)

    • Bernie Federko (traded to Detroit in June 1989)
    • Gerard Gallant
    • Steve Yzerman

    Minnesota North Stars (5)

    • Neal Broten
    • Jon Casey*
    • Dave Gagner*
    • Mike Gartner
    • Larry Murphy

    St. Louis Blues (4)

    • Brett Hull*
    • Paul MacLean* (traded to St. Louis in June 1989)
    • Greg Millen*
    • Adam Oates* (traded to St. Louis in June 1989)

    Toronto Maple Leafs (3)

    • Vincent Damphousse*
    • Gary Leeman*
    • Ed Olczyk

    custom card by Gavin
    Smythe Division

    Calgary Flames (6)
    • Doug Gilmour
    • Al MacInnis
    • Lanny McDonald*
    • Joe Mullen
    • Joe Nieuwendyk
    • Mike Vernon

    Edmonton Oilers (6)

    • Jimmy Carson
    • Grant Fuhr
    • Jari Kurri
    • Mark Messier
    • Craig Simpson*
    • Esa Tikkanen

    Los Angeles Kings (5)

    • Steve Duchesne*
    • Wayne Gretzky
    • Kelly Hrudey*
    • Bernie Nicholls
    • Luc Robitaille

    Vancouver Canucks (4)

    • Trevor Linden*
    • Kirk McLean*
    • Paul Reinhart*
    • Petri Skriko*

    Winnipeg Jets (4)

    • Dave Ellett*
    • Dale Hawerchuk
    • Fredrik Olausson*
    • Thomas Steen

    Kenner significantly increased the size of their baseball set in 1989, producing 168 figures. The NFL set slimmed down a bit, from 137 players in 1988 to 122 in 1989. Our mock hockey set expanded somewhat, going from 80 in '88 to 94 in '89. (It gets smaller in 1990.) 

    As for the 1989 NBA series... it appears as though Kenner had planned to produce a full set that season:

    As you can see, the checklist on this Kelly Tripucka figure lists very few new players - just two Celtics aside from the expansion Heat and Hornets. The three Hornets players, Ron Harper, and Larry Nance (who isn't even listed) were the only figures produced. Also the collector cards look exactly the same as the 1988 NBA series. If anyone has any info about why Kenner failed to follow through on a full 1989 NBA set please let me know!

    Kenner made just 17 NBA figures in 1990, but at least the cards were current and the checklist back was accurate. Perhaps basketball figures just weren't selling as well as baseball?

    I'll have a mock checklist for the 1990 Starting Lineup NHL series by the end of the week, and then (hopefully) some actual sports card content to follow.

    Thanks for reading!



    1. Whenever I think of the Whalers I am automatically thinking of the line from Mallrats "breakfasts come and go Renee. Now Hartford, the Whalers, beat Vancouver maybe twice in a lifetime" or something like that. Cool customs by Gavin too btw.

    2. Nice to see Sakic gets a SLU rookie card :)

    3. I've wondered about it as well. I think the 1989 set is more really a continuation of the 1988 set with a few new figures added.