Well, the masses have indeed spoken.
I'd like to thank my readers for all the support I've received this week, both during my semi-whiny "readership blues" post and for last afternoon's "pet project" feedback.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that the "Gems of Junk Wax" bracket has indeed been given the green light from dime box headquarters.
I'm not certain on an exact date at this point, but the polls should launch later this week.
Easily the best suggestion I received from many of my fellow bloggers last afternoon was the possibility of expanding the field to 64 overproduction-era gems, rather than the initial 50 I'd planned.
The inclusion of sixty-four different tournament hopefuls certainly makes the whole "bracket" thing a whole lot easier and way less convoluted. Plus, it allows be to show off another 14 of my personal favorite "gems", to boot.
Last night, I hand-selected the 14 additional "gems" that would compete in this tournament.
As I mentioned yesterday, I won't be including the few complete sets I've featured in the "Gems of Junk Wax" theme. However, many of the 14 new "hopefuls" I selected turned out to be individual pieces from those very sets.
So, in addition to the 50 single "gems" I've already featured within my "Gems of Junk Wax" posts, here are the other fourteen I'll be including to round out the bracket.
Almost all of these have been featured on the blog at some point in the past.
1993 Upper Deck #645 Phil Hiatt
1993 Upper Deck #174 Carlos Baerga
1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #1 Ted Williams OW
1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #2 Johnny Vander Meer OW
1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #72 Don Newcombe
1994 Conlon Collection #1000 Ty Cobb
1994 Conlon Collection #1260 Fred Merkle
1994 Topps Archives #251 Roberto Clemente
1992 Donruss Triple Play #173 Wrigley Field
1989 Scoremasters #22 Mark Grace
1988 Donruss #625 The Ripken Family
1994 Ted Williams #61 Billy Martin
1994 Upper Deck Ken Burns Baseball #66 Bill Mazeroski
1987 Classic Yellow #124 Andre Dawson
Aside from hand-picking the contestants, I will have absolutely no influence in how the "tournament" will play out.
The four "regions" and individual matchups will all be at a randomizer's disposal. And, although I have my personal favorites in the bunch, the choice of which cards advance will be entirely left up to my readers. I will not vote at any point.
Once we get down to the actual voting, I'll probably leave each individual poll up for about five days to a week.
As I said before, look for polling to begin later this week.
I don't know about you, but I'm starting to get excited about this thing. It's a major "first" in this blog's history.
And it's pretty much all thanks to you, the reader.
I hope you're ready.