Monday, April 22, 2013

Gems of Junk Wax Bracketology: The field of 64 (Part 3)

You know the drill by now.

Below are the next eight matchups from the field of 64. Personally, I think this region features a little of everything. Some easy choices, some tough choices, and some in between.

The polls are now on the sidebar!

Voting on this region will close this Thursday, April 25th, at 11:59 PM, so be sure to get your votes in before then!

So, without further ado, here are the next group of pairings from the "Gems of Junk Wax" tournament.

#1 seed -- 1991 Fleer #689 Tom Glavine


#16 -- 1991 Topps #530 Roger Clemens

All things being equal, Roger Clemens is most likely my least favorite player in baseball history.

Still, I find myself putting those feelings aside whenever I see his '91 Topps issue. In terms of posed photography, it has to be one of the greatest cards ever produced.

That being said, I think the Glavine will give "The Rocket" a run for his money.

Although I know I'm in the minority on this, I've always been smitten with Fleer's 1991 design. Couple those awesome yellow borders with one of the few "sliding pitcher" cards I've seen, and you have a definite gem of the overproduction era.

We'll just have to see how the voting turns out.

#8 -- 1987 Topps #170 Bo Jackson RC


#9 -- 1994 Pinnacle #379 Mark McLemore


While the McLemore is definitely an outstanding card, I'm betting this matchup will be a bit of a blowout.

To this day, the "Bo" remains arguably the most memorable card of the entire era.

#5 -- 1988 Donruss #625 The Ripken Family


#12 -- 1991 Bowman #410 "The Shot Heard 'Round The World"

I like that the randomizer paired these two together.

Understandably, most of the 64 cards in this tournament feature individual players. These, however, are a couple of the extreme few "themed" cards of the bunch.

Even though 1988 Donruss is one of my least favorite sets since, well...ever, it featured a flash of brilliance with that Ripken-centric issue. I own a few other cards that feature the "Ripken Family", but the Donruss piece is by far the best.

Most fans agree that "The Shot Heard 'Round The World" will always be one of the more defining moments in baseball history. 

While most of Bowman's overproduction era releases were highly yawn-tastic, that card is easily one of my favorites from the entire era.

How much do I like it?

It was the very first individual piece I featured in this theme, way back in December of 2011.

That seems like an eternity ago.

#4 -- 1992 Upper Deck #780 Turk Wendell RC


#13 -- 1988 Score #501 Reggie Jackson

While the victor of matchup would be an easy choice for me, both of these pieces certainly have their strong suits.

Best I know, the Wendell is the only card to feature a player brushing his teeth. On top of chewing black licorice and jumping over foul lines during his time in the bigs, Wendell habitually brushed his teeth between every inning of every game in which he played.

Upper Deck certainly didn't waste any time in exposing Wendell's quirks to the public, as that piece is actually his rookie card.

The Jackson is one of just three cards I own of him in Orioles garb. A lot of people forget that "Reggie" sandwiched a one-year stint with Baltimore between his big years with the A's and Yankees.

Because of that, Jackson as an "O" may well be the most unfamiliar uniform in existence.

#6 -- 1993 Upper Deck #645 Phil Hiatt


#11 -- 1991 Upper Deck #175 Fernando Valenzuela

Holy cow.

The randomizer struck pure gold with this one.

Two of my coveted "multiple exposure" cards will have to fight it out. One horizontal, one vertical. One day card, one night card. One fielder, one pitcher.

Thus far, this is probably my favorite matchup of the entire tournament.

I think you can see why.

#3 -- 1993 Upper Deck #174 Carlos Baerga


#14 -- 1993 Topps #633 "The Three Russians"

I'm interested to see where the voting goes with this one.

The Baerga is a prime example of Upper Deck's stellar photography in '93. It's definitely one of the better "double dip" cards I own.

On the other hand, the "Three Russians" piece is certainly a well-kept secret. I didn't find out about it until well into my blogging tenure.

Unbeknownst to me, the Angels signed three prospects out of Russia during the early '90s. Even more interestingly, they all made their cardboard debuts on the same 1993 Topps issue.

I've heard conflicting reports on what the Russian lettering on the front actually means, but the piece is more commonly referred to as "The Three Russians" in today's hobby.

This matchup should be a whole lot of fun.

#7 -- 1994 UD Ken Burns Baseball #66 Bill Mazeroski


#10 -- 1992 Topps #2 Rickey Henderson RB

This will probably prove to be a battle between a couple historic heavyweights.

I feel honored to own the Ken Burns Baseball card series that was released in 1994.

My parents bought it for me as a birthday gift during my early collecting days. If you can find one, I'd definitely recommend landing a copy for yourself.

It features tons of gems from baseball history, although I'd argue that the Mazeroski is the best of the bunch. Such an awesome view of one of the more memorable moments in baseball history deserves to be recognized in this tournament.

Of course, the Henderson chronicles his 939th career stolen base, the one that surpassed Lou Brock on the all-time record list.

In today's game, I think it's safe to say that his 1,406 career steals is a record that will never be broken.

That's what makes his 1992 Topps issue so historic.

#2 -- 1994 Conlon Collection #1000 Ty Cobb


#15 -- 1992 Score #891 Rob Dibble "Dream Team"

Longtime readers of this blog probably know who I'd choose in this matchup.

I won't try and say too much, but I've always had a profound interest in the deadball era. Incidentally, Ty Cobb was the unquestioned icon of that time period in baseball.

If you had to sum up "The Georgia Peach" with one photo, that shot would most certainly be it.

Well, now that you've seen this region's matchups, hit the polls!

Again, voting closes this Thursday, April 25th, at 11:59 PM. I'll try to have the victors announced on Friday.

Happy voting!


Rob said...

I'm calling an all-Bill Ripken final match-up, lol. The error card vs. the family card.

JediJeff said...

While I CANNOT stand Clemens, that card is hard to beat.

P-town Tom said...

That Wendell is one of my favorites in my collection. From what I hear Turk wanted to look intimidating on the mound to opposing batters and he thought chewing tobacco would give him that edge. He knew chewing tobacco wasn't great for one's health so he went with black licorice, because he thought it would look the same. He hated the taste of black licorice so he brushed his teeth every inning to rid himself of the taste. But he didn't hate it enough to give up what he thought was a "competitive edge".

That's "Turk the quirk" for ya!

The Junior Junkie said...

Some close voting here....

Bo said...

You can't stand Clemens but you're a fan of Ty Cobb?

Nick said...

Bo, I never said I was a fan of Cobb's. I'm just saying he played baseball the way it was meant to be played, more than just about any player before or since. That famous Conlon shot is the premier example of that.

I've read a few books on Cobb, so I'm well aware of his awful off-field demeanor, thanks.

Clemens flat-out cheated and tainted the game during my childhood, something for which I don't think I'll ever forgive him.