Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gems of Junk Wax Bracketology: The Terrific 32 (Pt. 4)


Welcome, fellow readers.

We've arrived at the final round of "Terrific 32" voting. After this group of matchups, we'll be down to the final 16 contestants.

Or, as they're better known, the "Sweet 16".

Voting on this region will close this Sunday, May 26th, at 11:59 PM, so be sure to get your votes in before then.

Without further ado, here are the final matchups from the "Terrific 32".





#1 seed -- 1988 Topps #18 Al Leiter RC ERR

VS.

#8 seed -- 1987 Topps #653 Kevin Mitchell RC

True, both the Leiter and Mitchell are rookie cards.

But that doesn't even begin to tell the story of why these made it to the "Terrific 32".

In fact, thanks to a "player swap" error on the part of Topps. Al Leiter isn't even featured on his own rookie card. That's actually former Yankee minor leaguer Chris George.

Still, as arguably the most memorable card from one of Topps' most highly regarded sets, the Mitchell looks to be a worthy competitor for the Leiter/George fiasco.

Oh, and yes, they're both rookie cards.

But that's really beside the point here.





#4 -- 1994 UD All-Time Heroes #1 Ted Williams OW

VS.

#5 -- 1992 Topps #40 Cal Ripken Jr.

If I had to pick, this star-studded clash would have to be my favorite from this particular region.

I've discussed my appreciation for each of these cards on many occasions in the past, so I'll keep it short here. 

It's a shot of "The Splendid Splinter" making his only career pitching appearance versus the iconic Mr. Ripken next to a plaque of Lou Gehrig. A photo which was taken before "The Iron Man" broke Gehrig's consecutive games played record, I might add.

Between Cal Sr, Billy, and Cal Jr., the Ripkens are currently undefeated in this tournament.

Will this matchup continue the trend?

We'll just have to wait and see.





#11 -- 1993 Topps #200 Kirby Puckett

VS.

#14 -- 1992 Stadium Club #520 Wade Boggs

This might well be the goofiest matchup we've seen so far.

While I wouldn't quite label either of these as "iconic", both the Puckett and Boggs are certainly well-known icons from the overproduction era.

Former Triton College standout Kirby Puckett's 1993 Topps issue, of course, is famous for the rather large bat tucked under his arm. And the Boggs features one of the strangest "celebration" shots you'll ever find.

While I have my definitive favorite from this pair, I'm betting this matchup will be a fight to the finish.





#2 -- 1989 Upper Deck #755 Jim Abbott RC

VS.

#7 -- 1991 Ultra #296 Ozzie Smith

Can the "Wizard of Oz" work his magic again?

After a fairly easy victory in the previous round, he certainly has his hands full with the magnificent Mr. Abbott this time around.

Ozzie Smith's 1991 Ultra issue is certainly one of the better Wrigley Field shots I've seen. Not many cards feature that specific area of the ballpark.

However, I still believe that the "multiple-exposure" Abbott is the absolute greatest rookie card ever produced. I imagine that "The Wizard" would have to pull off quite the upset to win here.

Still, that's the beauty of tournaments.

You just never know what to expect.

If I had to guess, I'd say a couple of these matchups will go down to the wire. And, as of right now, the polls are up on the sidebar.

Happy voting!

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