Last night, the NCAA tournament played its first two games. Here on Bump and Run Card Madness, we had our first region's worth of games in Round 1. We have 11 more match-ups in Round 1. Since the Phillies have a bye this round, we have three regional showdowns to see today. Here is our bracket as of now:
Round 1: Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs
1981 Donruss #160 LaMarr Hoyt vs. 2006 Ultra Diamond Producers #DP14 Derrek Lee
Windy City rivals square off. The South Siders bring former All-Star pitcher LaMarr Hoyt on his (and Donruss's) debut card. Sweet-swinging first baseman Derrek Lee represents the North Side. I've always liked the early years of Donruss with the year in the corner. It's a good photo with old Comiskey Park in the background. I think it comes out a wash with an insert that has a so-so design. Both were good players. Hoyt boasts one All-Star appearance and the 1983 Cy Young. Lee counters with two All-Star appearances, three Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, and a batting title. Even without considering that Derrek Lee was my favorite player at the time this card was produced, Lee's career was longer and more impressive in the end.
Round 1: Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals
2022 Topps Opening Day #24 Franmil Reyes vs. 1995 Ultra Gold Medallion #57 Bob Hamelin
This AL Central showdown features two players with similar career WAR. Hamelin has a higher OPS, while Reyes hits more homers, but the career WAR is similar. Hamelin gets a point for being in my Rookie of the Year collection and for being a classic Ultra Gold Medallion. But something is so appealing about the Reyes. I think 2022 Topps was my favorite Flagship in a few years. The colors, the quiet celebration, and the design all pull together to make a pretty attractive card. I'm choosing that one.
Round 1: New York Mets vs. Texas Rangers
1991 Topps #60 Frank Viola vs. 2014 Donruss #215 Yu Darvish
This was a tight match-up. Both Frank Viola and Yu Darvish spent at least a few years of their careers with star status. Both had a few subpar seasons, as well. Viola took home a Cy Young, so there's an advantage for him there. 1991 Topps is one of my favorites, while the short-printed Diamond King subset in 2014 Donruss is pretty good, too. The lack of licensing on this Panini card is glaring to me, though. On the basis of hardware, nostalgia, and logos, I give the nod to Frank Viola and the Mets.
We're halfway done with our first round. Like the NCAA tournament, we'll have our Sweet 16 by the end of this weekend.