Well, let's get right into it. The Coot has a gig later at the Ice Pick, so let's get this show on the road.
An intense contestant in Mr. Maybin painted by Dick. Some very nice artwork, as always, Mr. Perez.
The fine arts take on:
The Bestest Bowman. Magglio's locks contrast gloriously against faux refractor-ness. But, somehow, the refractor rainbows we love so well just don't mean as much when every card in the set shines the same.
A very shiny Peralta. Not very thrilling of a card, but an exciting action shot of his minimalist goatee. And Johnny's competition:
It's set versus set. Insert versus parallel. Shiny woodgrain versus woodgrain stained with Miggy's under-the-driver's-side-seat whiskey.
And the winner is:
Johnny flips over and shows us his gold-stamped numbers. Some bling to go with his shine edges win him the round.
Our next contestant:
Carlos fraternizing with the enemy. A dangerous move, but he hopes his golden bling will have the same effect as Peralta's. I'm numbered, too, he shouts through his high-five.
Cabrera warbles back onto the stage. The newsboy guides him by the elbow to his podium. Does he have a shot at redemption.
We can always give Cabrera another shot. And something happened on the day Cabrera was berfed into this world: Paul Revere began his ride. How splendidly patriotic of you, Miggy.
Straight out of Night Owl's secret stash, the retro 1975 Topps comes on down. Fryman looks ready for anything here, even playing shortstop, even though he's a pitcher. Hm. Let's see his competition.
Wow, a very even match up here with the fruitiest color combo from the 1975 set: Brinkman framed in strawberry-grape. Brinkman's sweet glasses earn him some points.
Woodie's pose is more ridiculous, and he's sporting the same last name as Travis Fryman--a childhood hero of the judges. Woodie get the win.
It's chrome and it's a rookie and Boesch knows he's a favorite of the judges. The kid has a lot going for him, a bright future on this show and in the big show. Who could stand against him.
Bubba Trammell? What the what?! Interrobang?! It's the battle of the chrome rookies. Their cards are shiny, their careers full of potential frozen in time, concentration and grit smeared across their mugs. It's almost too close to call.
And then it isn't...
Because Bubba has a famous last name. His surname was shared by one half of the best double play duo of all time. Alan and Lou, we miss you.
And here's the man himself. Well, the man-boy here in his rookie card. He's all wrinkled up, his corners furry, and he's playing Jan to the Marcia, Marcia, Molitor in the top right corner.
Who would take advantage of a young, beat-up Trammell?
Ripken, how could you? We thought you were the most stand-up fella to ever play the game. Getting a little rough here, taking on an injured Trammell.
Does Trammell have a chance?
Indeed he does. Creases can't hold steal this win. Anyway, Cal got thrown out by your momma.
And the final pairing of the first round is:
Cal can't be kept down. He's back, wondering ponderously with bat squeezed at the unready. And he's up against:
Another Cal. It's Cal versus Cal. If he can't beat Alan he'll beat himself. Er, um.
Shiny running Cal edges ahead, but slow and steady contemplative Cal always wins in the long run.
Or does he...
Shiny Cal wins by an orange glove.
And that will do it for round one. Time to pay the bills: a note from our sponsor:
We're back, folks. And apparently Denny's has bought a spot in round two:
Are we lazy and just couldn't come up with yet another pair of competitors? Certainly not. Are we sellouts catering to the corporate grease machine? No way. We love our Sland Grams as much as Cecil.
Who will face the Dennified Holographic Cecil Fielder in round two?
Dick returns. His brushstrokes are swirling and gray but does he have enough to take on high calorie junk wax?
Sorry, Dick. Even though we can hardly tell what the hell's going on in blurry Moons Over My Hammy hologram world, a Cecil will always trump a Maybin.
For the next matchup of round two:
Johnny P is back against:
Two strong Tigers bats, two beloved retro sets. It seems too close to call. It looks like it's going to come down to day's in history. Of course Miggy shares his berfday with Revere's Wild Ride. What about Johnny's special day? The British defeat the Argentines at the Battle of Goose Green on the same day that Peralta gurgles out his first infant cries. Well, despite your chrome-ness and blingy numbers, the judges are going with Revere, er Cabrera.
And we ride onward:
Wish-I-was-a-shortstop-Fryman returns to take on:
Two great cards, twenty years apart. Bubba and Woodie--two great names.
And it all comes down to the name for the judges for this match...
Who would pick a Fryman over a Trammell? Sure, his name's not Alan, but it's enough to get him the round.
Who do we have next?
We were just talking about you, Alan. Have you met Bubba? Maybe later. Creasy Alan is looking tired. Will he be able to stand up to...
Brand new Wal-Mart Cal Ripken. Cal is crisp and shiny and smells like refractor. He has everything he needs to win this round.
What's this? A surprise cameo from Magnum PI! Well, with that kind of endorsement, there can be only one winner:
That does it for round two of Vealtones Trade-o-rama. But first Mr. Costello has a few words.
Our thrilling round three begins with Lenny's Ceecil.
That is, Denny's Cecil. Up against...
Cecil's card is full of muddled holographic action, while Cabrera's teaching us a thrilling bit of history, hustling through the streets of some picturesque colonial town. That's kind of 3D, right? Coot Veal nods yes, so Cabrera has it.
Next is a battle of the Trammells:
Bubba T and...
The same names, but we have all-star vintage here. Really, the judges can't believe the Bubb-ster has made it this far. And 1997 Bowman is the awkward gangly teenager of the Bowman designs. He's not sure what his body will do, what he wants to do with his life. Perhaps plastics. As Bubba and Bowman ponder...
Alan gets the win.
We want to get right on to our final round, but first, we must hear from wise Bip the baseball man.
It's the moment you've been anxiously waiting for. We understand your excitement, the tension running all the way from your white knuckles to your curled toes. The Vealtones are excited, too. Coot, however, is leaning coolly offstage, tapping his watch, because it's about time to get going to the next gig.
OK, Coot, we'll get on with it.
We see you, big guy. We love you in Detroit. And the blogosphere loves Allen & Ginter.
And the judges love '70s Brady Bunch rookies, especially ones featuring Alan Trammell and some guy named Paul Molitor. We all know the card is creased, worn as thin as a the lucky dollar Mickey Klutts stashed in the bottom of his cleats.
It's a tough decision. It's been a long night. I/you thought this post would never end, but, alas it must. So the winner is:
1978 extra-wrinkly Alan Trammell. The judges have been digging on those well-worn grooves this whole time. The wear actually rockets this 1978 back to a vintage feel of exactly 1949. It has actually become more vintage, and thus is the best Alan Trammell rookie card ever.
That does it for us.
Thanks to Night Owl for the great trade and for the inspiration to write this neverending post.