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The Bad Baseball Card Tournament: Elite 8

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Voting is hard. You have to read words, and look at pictures, and click radio boxes. We know how tough you have it. But if you don't vote now, you can't complain when your children or your children's children have to look at baseball cards through a lead-coated protective visor.

this is technically illegal
this is technically illegal
Patrick Dubuque

We're left with eight. There were few surprises yesterday, except perhaps the ease by which all four victors advanced: no loser cracked 30%, even the ghoulish Topps 3-D. Now there are only ogres, except perhaps in the shocking Boring Division, where an underdog is guaranteed to advance to the Final Four. Our current bracket:

bracket3

You know the drill by now. Today, eight teams; tomorrow, four; Friday, the contest to decide it all. Vote for the ugliest cards. Look at each one, close your eyes, listen to your heart. Imagine yourself being handed that card on campus by a scraggly-bearded hipster, and then measure the disappointment, the anger you feel. Quantify that feeling, then repeat with its opponent. It's not that hard.

GARISH DIVISION

#4: 1992 Topps Kids vs. #2: 1995 Fleer

8a

1992 Topps Kids Vital Statistics

Set Size: 132 cards
Set Value (as of 2005): $3.00
Set Value (as of 2055): One squirrel-on-a-stick
Most Valuable Card: Ripken, Bonds, Ryan ($0.75)
Sample Flavor Text: "What do chickens use to play baseball? Fowl Balls."

1995 Fleer Vital Statistics

Set Size: 600 cards
Set Value (as of 2005): $12.50
Set Value (as of 2055): Two rusted, unidentified gears
Most Valuable Card: Bonds, Ripken ($2.50)
Sample Flavor Text: There is literally no text on the back of the cards other than stats

BORING DIVISION

#8: 1990 Topps vs. #6: 1986 Sportflics

8b

1990 Topps Vital Statistics

Set Size: 792 cards
Set Value (as of 2005): $8.00
Set Value (as of 2055): Two bandages and a wagon wheel
Most Valuable Card: Frank Thomas No Name ($450.00)
Sample Flavor Text: "Bill was signed for the Pirates by scout Gene Baker."

1986 Sportflics Vital Statistics

Set Size: 200 cards
Set Value (as of 2005): $6.00
Set Value (as of 2055): The tattered remains of a letter from an anonymous boy to his mother
Most Valuable Card: Robin Yount (Yankees logo on back) ($85.00)
Sample Flavor Text: "But he didn't want to play in Canada so they traded him to the Rangers in November."

INSERT DIVISION

#1: 1995 Fleer ProVisions vs. #2: 1999 Thunder Dial 1

8c

1995 ProVisions Vital Statistics

Set Size: 6 cards
Set Value (as of 2005): $4.00
Set Value (as of 2055): Three acres of land inside the East-Wash Deadzone
Most Valuable Card: Greg Maddux ($1.00)
Sample Flavor Text: "It took Mike only three years at Stanford to get an Economics degree."

1999 Thunder Dial 1 Vital Statistics

Set Size: 10 cards
Set Value (as of 2005): $75.00
Set Value (as of 2055): Fifteen minutes of conversation with one of the Aleutian Consorts
Most Valuable Card: Alex Rodriguez ($12.50)
Sample Flavor Text: This one kills me. Look for yourself. It's the only scan I can find, and I can't make it out, but I swear at one point it says "as if you're some kind of punk."

SUBSET DIVISION

#5: 1998 Ultra Pizzazz vs. #3: 1995 Collector's Choice What's the Call

8d

1998 Ultra Pizzazz Vital Statistics

Set Size: 25 cards
Set Value (as of 2005): $33.75
Set Value (as of 2055): Two cups of whiskeydirt, including dirttube
Most Valuable Card: Derek Jeter ($3.00)
Sample Flavor Text: "Roger is a dominating man."

1994 Collector's Choice Vital Statistics

Subset Size: 5 cards
Set Value (as of 2005): $2.35
Set Value (as of 2055): Free admission into the Recycling Vat of your choice
Most Valuable Card: Barry Bonds ($0.65)
Sample Flavor Text: "However, before going over the fence, the ball hits a wayward seagull."