30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Stubborn and Frugal

The 80's rocked.  Metallica.  AC/DC.  Guns N' Roses.  And of course... Donruss puzzle inserts.

If you're reading this blog, then I'm sure you're familiar with the latter, but just in case you were a child of the 90's or 2000's and you're sitting down scratching your head... I'll try to fill you in one of our hobby's greatest secrets (sorry... sometimes I like to be dramatic).

Back in the 80's... all of the big name card companies utilized a gimmick to get kids to buy their trading cards.  Topps promoted cavities with their gum.  Fleer helped kids decorate Pee Chee folders and bedroom doors with their team stickers.  And Donruss challenged the minds of our hobby's youth by having them collect and build puzzles.

From 1982 to 1992, every pack of Donruss or Leaf baseball cards included three puzzle pieces out of a sixty-three piece puzzle.  Collect them all and you'd reveal one of Dick Perez's amazing works of art.

I'm pretty sure that the first puzzle I ever completed was the Roberto Clemente puzzle from 1987.  That was the year I dove head first into investing my money into baseball cards, which meant I actually bought enough packs to actually finish the puzzle.

Before then... I'd have a handful of puzzle pieces scattered throughout my collection and to be honest, I don't remember them being high on my priority list back then.  Rookie cards were king and puzzle pieces were most likely the last thing on my mind.

Fast forward a couple of decades when I reentered the hobby and decided to collect and build all sixteen puzzles produced by Donruss/Leaf back in the day.  It's taken me four years and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Recently, I picked up the two Rod Carew puzzles issued in 1992:

That leaves me just three puzzle pieces short of the entire sixteen puzzle collection.  Which three pieces do I need?  I'm looking for card #3 from the 1983 Action All-Stars Mickey Mantle puzzle, which consists of pieces 7, 8, and 9.

There's a vender on COMC that has one:

But... I'm too stubborn and cheap to pay the 95¢ the seller is asking.  I tried to make an offer, but that only brought it down to 88¢.  Considering that complete Mantle puzzles sell in the $6 to $7 range... I just can't get myself to pull the trigger.

What are your thoughts?

Anyone else as stubborn and frugal as I am?  Or do you think I'm insane for letting a buck stand between me and a finished project?

As usual... everyone has the right to their own opinion and I promise not to be offended if you disagree.  Heck let's make it a game.  If the majority think I'm crazy... I'll man up and spend my hard earned pennies on these final puzzle pieces.  But if the majority has my back... I'm sticking to my guns and will wait another four years if I have to.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. For around a buck, if I knew I could finish off a project (and I was gonna be shipping from COMC soon) I'd do it, but that's me! I'll grab that card for you from Sportlots, though, as a guy I'm gonna be buying from has one so it won't hurt my shipping cost.

  2. You have to buy it!! It'll feel good to move on to another project and mark this one completed even if it costs you a few extra dollars.

  3. Try and justify those 88 cents by selling cards you don't need on COMC to make up for it ;).



  6. If you can buy a pack of 2016 Topps without any remorse, you can buy that. Buy it, or you're insane.

  7. My stubbornness should extend further than it does into my collecting. I get upset with all the ridiculous photo variations, yet I still try to get them for my team sets...

    So, take it with many grains of salt when I say I'd buy...but, then again, with Dennis buying it for you, be stubborn! :-)

  8. I'm completely in line with you on this one. 88 cents for one puzzle piece seems awfully high.

  9. If I can put a project to bed for a $1 then I would just do it. Use the time you saved from continuing to have to look for the puzzle piece on a new project.

  10. I am very frugal, but for 88 cents I would have to pull the trigger. I overpaid for a few items just to get them done even though they are not really worth it. But accomplishment can sometimes override that.

  11. I would have paid the dollar.

  12. Look at it this way. It's really just 29 cents per piece since you get three pieces in a puzzle card!

  13. Nah, unless you can put a bunch of other stuff around it to make an order, I would wait to get it.
    I'll see that 20¢ set killer on COMC or SportLots and then end up with a $60 order.
    But I'd never try to get a dollar-or-less card from ebay and pay three bucks minimum shipping, etc. It would have to be a blockbuster white whale to get me to overpay online.

  14. I am like you and very frugal, there have been times that I walked away from purchases over small change.

  15. I had Hank Aaron sign my Donruss puzzle waaay back in the day. Kind of a cool thing. Not sure that is what I'd pick nowadays for him to sign but i was young then. Great post.

  16. Guess... I'll be buying the piece. At least I know I have the support of most of you.

    Dennis - Thank you so much for offering to help me out. If you've already bought the piece for me, then I'll hold off. However if you haven't, then don't sweat it. I'll head over to COMC or Sportlots and buy it myself.

    John Miller - Thanks for the heads up. Had no idea that puzzle existed. It's good and bad news I guess. I've added it to my eBay watch list. Hopefully a complete puzzle pops up at a reasonable price.

    GCA - Been there before. That's what always happens to me on COMC.

    Bulldog - That's really cool. Just found your blog. You should show that Aaron off on it.