Sunday, December 8, 2019

Starting Lineup - The Lost Years: Conclusion

By 1991, the large checklists and regional distribution of the first Starting Lineup sets were long gone. Kenner produced half as many MLB figures in 1992 (43) as they had in 1990 (87). The NFL line was drastically cut from 66 in 1990 to 26 in 1991 and 1992. The NBA checklist remained small, with 15 players in 1991 after a 17-player set in 1990. Kenner increased the size of their basketball set to 27 different players in 1992.

Our NHL mock-list was 55 players in 1990, while the first NHL line Kenner produced was just 12 players. How many will we have in between? Let's take a look:

*new player added

Adams Division

Boston Bruins
1991: Ray Bourque, Craig Janney, Cam Neely
1992: Ray Bourque, Adam Oates

Buffalo Sabres
1991: Dale Hawerchuk
1992: Dave Andreychuk, Pat LaFontaine, Dale Hawerchuk, Alexander Mogilny*

Hartford Whalers
John Cullen
1992: none

Montreal Canadiens
1991: Patrick Roy
1992: Patrick Roy

Quebec Nordiques
1991: Joe Sakic

1992: Owen Nolan*, Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin*

Patrick Division

New Jersey Devils
1991: John MacLean, Chris Terreri*
1992: Claude Lemieux

New York Islanders
1991: Pat LaFontaine

1992: Pierre Turgeon

New York Rangers
1991: Mike Gartner, Brian Leetch

1992: Brian Leetch, Mark Messier

Philadelphia Flyers
1991: none

1992: Rod Brind'Amour*, Mark Recchi

Pittsburgh Penguins
1991: Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Mario Lemieux, Mark Recchi, Kevin Stevens*
1992: Tom Barrasso, Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr*, Joe Mullen, Kevin Stevens

Washington Capitals
1991: Don Beaupre*, Kevin Hatcher
1992: none

Norris Division

Chicago Blackhawks
1991: Ed Belfour*, Chris Chelios, Steve Larmer, Jeremy Roenick

1992: Ed Belfour, Jeremy Roenick

Detroit Red Wings
1991: Tim Cheveldae*, Sergei Fedorov*, Steve Yzerman
1992: Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom*, Steve Yzerman

Minnesota North Stars
1991: Jon Casey, Mike Modano
1992: Mike Modano

St. Louis Blues
1991: Brett Hull, Adam Oates
1992: Brett Hull, Curtis Joseph*, Brendan Shanahan

Toronto Maple Leafs
1991: Vincent Damphousse
1992: Grant Fuhr, Doug Gilmour

Smythe Division

Calgary Flames

1991: Theoren Fleury*, Al MacInnis
1992: Gary Roberts*

Edmonton Oilers
1991: Mark Messier

1992: Vincent Damphousse, Joe Murphy*

Los Angeles Kings
1991: Wayne Gretzky, Kelly Hrudey, Luc Robitaille
1992: Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille

San Jose Sharks
1991: Jeff Hackett*
1992: Pat Falloon*

Vancouver Canucks
1991: Trevor Linden
1992: Pavel Bure*, Kirk McLean

Winnipeg Jets
1991: Phil Housley

1992: Bob Essensa, Phil Housley

Ok, so.. it was really hard for me to cut the checklists any further than this. There are still a few obscure names but nearly all of them were among the league leaders at their respective positions. I did manage to break from the 'one player per team' habit, if barely.

I ended up with 40 players in the 1991 set and 42 players in the 1992 set. Obviously Kenner would have trimmed each set to about half that size given that the 1993 series had only a dozen players:
  • Ed Belfour
  • Brett Hull
  • Eric Lindros
  • Grant Fuhr
  • Jaromir Jagr
  • Jeremy Roenick
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Mark Messier
  • Pat LaFontaine
  • Patrick Roy
  • Ray Bourque
  • Steve Yzerman

Before I put a bow on this series I want to thank Gavin once again for the excellent customs that really brought these mock SLU lists to life. One note of trivia: 

Six players appeared in every one of my five Starting Lineup "Lost Years" sets and the initial Kenner NHL set in 1993. They are: Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Pat LaFontaine, Patrick Roy, Ray Bourque, and Steve Yzerman.

Four players appeared in every one of my five Starting Lineup "Lost Years" sets but did not appear in Kenner's 1993 NHL set. Can you name them? (scroll down for the answer)



The four players are: Phil Housley, Dale Hawerchuk, Luc Robitaille, and some guy named Wayne Gretzky. The Great One did not appear in a Starting Lineup set until 1997!

I'll be back in a few days to discuss some toys that were actually made, when The Collector's 12 Days of Christmas series kicks off this Friday. Thanks for reading!



  1. Fun thought exercise. If I had gotten into the NHL in the mid-1990s when I got into the NBA (and watched my first NHL action) I would have collected these figures heavily.

    1. Definitely! I didn't start to follow hockey until about 1991 so it was a lot of fun for me to go back and learn about each year/player/team.

  2. I always wondered the story behind Gretzky not having a SLU figure until the late 90's. I also remember everyone buying them up when they released it. I'm sure they produced a ton of that figure.

    1. It might have been a licensing issue, due to his contract with Upper Deck?

  3. I think the additions of players like Jagr, Fedorov, Belfour, Bure, and Fleury would have netted Starting Lineup some profit that year!

  4. Great series. Loved Starting Lineup back in the day. I so hoped for so many players they never produced. Fun stuff.