This week marked the first time I'd ever used a poll on this blog.
Even after this whole tournament thing is over, you can probably expect to see more vote-based topics around here in the future. I'm a big fan of the entire polling process now.
Before we get into this batch of matchups, I thought I'd note just what years the overproduction era entails in my "Gems of Junk Wax" theme.
Although I've heard many different opinions on the matter, anything from 1987 to 1994 is fair game for this tournament. I tend to equate the baseball strike in '94 as the "bust" for the hobby, thus marking the end of the overproduction era.
So, yes, Mr. Lofton there is eligible for future "Gems of Junk Wax" posts. Chances are you'll see him in a later installment of this theme, as it's one of my favorite cards of his.
For now, though, let's get to the meat of this post.
Here, my friends, are the next eight matchups from the field of 64.
#1 seed -- 1989 Topps #11 Bruce Sutter
#16 -- 1987 Topps Traded #22T Ron Cey
At times, the randomizer I used spit out a handful of obviously lopsided matchups.
Last edition's Boyd-Fisk pairing was probably a good example of that.
However, in most cases, the randomizing process struck pure gold, as I think we have with this particular matchup.
Sutter and Cey received a couple of the better "sunset" cards of the overproduction era with this pair.
Any send-off for a HOFer like Mr. Sutter holds a special place in my collection. And, while I love all the Ron Cey cards out there, the wildly unfamiliar A's jersey is what originally earned it a spot in this tournament.
It could go either way.
#8 -- 1991 Studio #38 Sammy Sosa
#9 -- 1988 Fleer #582 Tim Flannery
These are a couple of "cult favorites" from the overproduction era.
While these might not be the first cards collectors picture when they think "junk wax", the plain goofiness of both the Sosa and Flannery has earned each of these a place in cardboard lore.
They certainly bring a smile to my face.
#5 -- 1994 Upper Deck #57 Julio Franco
#12 -- 1991 Topps #760 Benito Santiago
In the end, I think the voting in this matchup will be a bit of a landslide.
However, both of these have always been a few of my personal favorites from the overproduction era. Julio Franco's "ageless wonder" status has long cemented his place in my binders. The quirky batting stance is just icing on the cake.
Of course, though, Mr. Santiago is one of the icons of the overproduction era. Plus, we seem to already have a massive amount of Padre fans around here.
Because of that, I think Mr. Franco got a tough draw here.
#4 -- 1990 Score Rookie/Traded #100T Eric Lindros (RC?)
#13 -- 1994 Upper Deck Minors #48 Scott Eyre
Much like the earlier Sosa-Flannery pairing, this matchup pits a couple of "goofy" cards against one another.
Eric Lindros, of course, became a massive star in the NHL during the '90s before injuries derailed his career. In an unprecedented move, Score actually granted him a spot in their 1990 Rookie/Traded baseball checklist. That's how hyped the guy was back in the day.
The "RC?" designation is no accident. I'm still not sure whether I should officially classify it as a "rookie card", since Lindros obviously never played professional baseball.
On the other hand, the Eyre might be one of the bigger "sleepers" from this tournament. More than almost any other card I've seen, it just screams "MINOR LEAGUES!!".
Chain-link fences. Plastic lawn chairs in the background. A franchise called the "Rainbows". And a corny photo, to top it all off. Very, very minor league-ish.
That's what makes it so great.
#6 -- 1992 Topps #261 Tom Lasorda
#11 -- 1987 Classic Yellow #124 Andre Dawson
To me, this is the most exciting matchup from this region.
If you've read my blog before, chances are you've heard me babble about one or both of these cards in the past.
They each managed to crack my "Top 100" list. In fact, the Lasorda was the only manager card to do so. It may well be the greatest manager card ever made, although it has competition from Billy Martin's "one-finger salute" 1972 Topps piece.
The Dawson holds the rather dubious honor of featuring the most violent beaning I've ever seen on a baseball card. It may well be the strangest photo selection in the history of cardboard. A pure stroke of unfortunate genius on the part of the Classic brand.
If I had to guess, I'd say this one will go down to the wire.
#3 -- 1989 Scoremasters #22 Mark Grace
#14 -- 1990 Swell Baseball Greats #11 Robin Roberts
This is already the second all-Cubs matchup we've seen from the field of 64.
The Grace is one of only a few Scoremasters cards in my collection at the moment. Despite my limited exposure to them, though, I can definitively say that they may well be one of the more under-appreciated sets from the overproduction era.
Although I probably own close to 75 different Robin Roberts cards, his '90 Swell piece is the only one I've seen that pictures him as a Cub. He closed out his Hall of Fame career with an 11-game stint in Chicago during the '66 season.
It's one of the best "unfamiliar uniform" pieces in my binders right now.
#7 -- 1991 Topps #455 Walt Weiss
#10 -- 1992 Stadium Club #444 Lance Johnson
Quite a few people of the people on my forum seemed to think that the overproduction era was a wasteland for photography back in the day.
At times, that may ring true. Then again, you'd have a hard time finding any better photography than the shots featured on this pair, no matter the era.
Both are simply jaw-dropping.
Come polling time, I'd say this matchup will prove to be a dead heat.
#2 -- 1989 Score #645 Randy Johnson RC
#15 -- 1992 Stadium Club #387 Ruben Sierra
Here, we have the final matchup of this region.
Although I'm not sure where I purchased my copy, I've seen quite a few of those Score rookies of the "Big Unit" in dime boxes over the years.
In the end, that's one of the more unintentional benefits of the overproduction era as a whole. Often times, you can find rookies of future HOFers like Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux for pennies on the dollar.
As you can probably see by the corner chipping, the Sierra was very well-loved by my pre-teen collecting self. Worn edges are a common theme of some of my oldest cardboard.
Although it's certainly a quirky card, can Mr. Sierra edge out a Randy Johnson rookie card?
The polls will answer that question. They're up on the sidebar as we speak. As I mentioned this afternoon, I'll be using a different polling source from here on out.
Voting will close this Friday, April 19th, at 11:59 PM, so be sure to get your votes in before then!