Thus far, I think it's already safe to say that this tournament has been a resounding success.
The second group of matchups from the inaugural field of 64 produced a terrific turnout, quite a bit larger than we saw in the first batch. Thankfully, everything went smoothly with the new polling system as well.
Plus, after this post, we'll have determined half of the "Terrific 32" that will be moving onto the next round of the tournament.
Again, a big thanks goes out to all my readers who took the time to vote on these matchups. In the end, quite a few turned out to be neck-and-neck races.
On that note, let's see who will be moving on to the next round in the "Gems of Junk Wax" tournament.
#16 seed -- 1987 Topps Traded #22T Ron Cey (20 votes)
#1 seed -- 1989 Topps #11 Bruce Sutter (13 votes)
Well, it finally happened.
A #16 seed managed to take down a #1. Mr. Cey pulled the ultimate upset with his victory here. (Even all these years later, that's still never happened in men's "March Madness" history.)
Again, though, the seeds in this tournament are much like the points on Whose Line is it Anyway?.
They don't matter.
I had a feeling "The Penguin" would emerge victorious in this matchup. Both are terrific "sunset" cards, but Cey as an Oakland A is still one of the more fascinating sights in cardboard history.
As far as unfamiliar uniforms go, it has to be near the top.
#9 -- 1988 Fleer #582 Tim Flannery (22 votes)
#8 -- 1991 Studio #38 Sammy Sosa (9 votes)
As funny as his '91 Studio card is, I'm not sure I really wanted to see Mr. Sosa advance past the first round.
No matter what, he's still one of my least favorite players in the history of baseball.
Thankfully, Mr. Flannery won in pretty comfortable fashion.
#12 -- 1991 Topps #760 Benito Santiago (26 votes)
#5 -- 1994 Upper Deck #57 Julio Franco (4 votes)
With a 22-vote difference, this may well prove to be the biggest blowout in this entire tournament.
Still, with the unquestioned greatness of Benito Santiago, were you really expecting anything else?
I'm just glad Mr. Franco didn't get shut out.
#4 -- 1990 Score Rookie/Traded #100T Eric Lindros RC? (19 votes)
#13 -- 1994 Upper Deck Minors #48 Scott Eyre (13 votes)
This matchup turned out to be a lot closer than I would've guessed.
Although Mr. Lindros pulled away near the end, this race was neck-and-neck for the majority of the polling timeframe.
I guess at least a few of my readers agreed with Eyre's "sleeper" status in this tournament. In the end, though, I think the Lindros was indeed the better candidate of this matchup.
After all, it's one of the wackier cards of the overproduction era.
#11 -- 1987 Classic Yellow #124 Andre Dawson (17 votes)
#6 -- 1992 Topps #261 Tom Lasorda (14 votes)
In revealing this region's individual matchups, I deemed this to be the most interesting pairing of the bunch.
The voting certainly didn't disappoint.
Much like the Lindros-Eyre matchup, this was a dead heat for a while. After all was said and done, though, the Dawson emerged victorious.
While I personally think my readers got it right, I thought the Lasorda had a better shot at winning. From what I've seen, it's one of the more recognizable cards of the era.
The Classic Dawson is a truly unbelievable piece of cardboard, but I doubt many people had seen it before I happily dug it up from that fateful dime box back in June.
Either way, I'm interested to see how far "The Hawk" can advance in this tournament.
#3 -- 1989 Scoremasters #22 Mark Grace (20 votes)
#14 -- 1990 Swell Baseball Greats #11 Robin Roberts (12 votes)
I'm starting to question just how random my randomizer truly was.
This is already the second all-Cubs matchup we've seen in this tournament. The beautiful Scoremasters Grace overtook the "unfamiliar" Robin Roberts fairly effortlessly.
And, well, guess who Mr. Grace will face in his "Terrific 32" matchup?
None other than Andre Dawson.
#7 -- 1991 Topps #455 Walt Weiss (17 votes)
#10 -- 1992 Stadium Club #444 Lance Johnson (15 votes)
With just a two-vote margin of victory, this proved to be the closest matchup of the tournament thus far.
Although I personally would've picked Lance Johnson, I can't much argue with the popular choice. The Weiss may well be the greatest "double dip" card in history.
Plus, while following this neck-and-neck matchup last week, I came to a frightening realization.
Should there be a tie in the voting, what would happen?
I'd never thought about that during the preparation for this project. Truthfully, I'm still not sure. Maybe I'll just give the nod to the higher seed in that case.
So maybe the seeds will matter, after all.
#2 -- 1989 Score #645 Randy Johnson RC (19 votes)
#15 -- 1992 Stadium Club #387 Ruben Sierra (13 votes)
While Mr. Sierra made it a bit of a contest, the victor in this matchup was never really in much doubt.
As much as I love my "sunset" collection, I've always loved acquiring rookie cards of my favorite players.
This Score issue of "The Big Unit" is near the top in that department.
So, in keeping with the setup of my first "victors" post, here's a look at this region's "Terrific 32" matchups.
#16 -- 1987 Topps Traded #22T Ron Cey vs. #9 -- 1988 Fleer #582 Tim Flannery
#12 -- 1991 Topps #760 Benito Santiago vs. #4 -- 1990 Score Rookie/Traded #100T Eric Lindros (RC?)
#11 -- 1987 Classic Yellow #124 Andre Dawson vs. #3 -- 1989 Scoremasters #22 Mark Grace
#7 -- 1991 Topps #455 Walt Weiss vs. #2 -- 1989 Score #645 Randy Johnson RC
Hopefully Mr. Lindros will be able to give Santiago a little better run for his money this time around.
Until then, though, this looks to be a fantastic batch of matchups.
I'll be posting the next round of pairings from the field of 64 later tonight.
Get ready to vote again!