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Investment Advice

This article is more than 11 years old.

If you think of sports as offering a diversion from real world concerns, Bill Littlefield advices you to think again, especially if your investment portfolio has recently suffered.

These are difficult times for people with money left over after they’ve filled their gas tanks. Stocks are falling, and the president’s cheerful reassurances on Tuesday have not convinced everyone that tomorrow morning they shouldn’t line up outside the bank. What is an investor to do? According to Hunt Auctions in Pennsylvania, this week one well-padded buyer plunged to the tune of three hundred twenty eight thousand dollars for a dirty baseball cap. Granted, it was a cap that had once been worn by Babe Ruth. Still, three hundred twenty eight thousand dollars for a baseball cap? Even the seller was surprised. No previously auctioned cap had ever been hammered down at more than a hundred grand. Of course, that sale probably occurred before the dollar was buried by Euro, the Canadian Looney, and whatever currency circulates throughout the Isles of Langerhan. Unless this week’s investor has a real and twisted thing for the stains left by Ruth’s mighty brow, whoever
bought the cap is assuming it will appreciate even as such former favorites as General Motors sink. It’s a
reasonable assumption. The Babe’s old cap was only expected to bring about two hundred grand. When the price hit half again that much, values across the baseball memorabilia sector apparently went mad. One of the Babe’s bats brought one hundred ninety five grand. Evidence that the mania had spread beyond Ruth himself – though not necessarily into areas inhabited by fans of teams other than the Yankees – surfaced when Thurman Munson’s Rookie of the Year Award was bid up to forty six thousand dollars. It’s odd, isn’t it, that anybody should pay anything for an award won by somebody else. I mean, pretty much the whole point of an award is that you win it, rather than buy it. But I digress. If you’re puzzling over what to do with the money with which you’ve decided not to make your next mortgage payment, think old gloves, tattered scorecards, aging rain checks, a sweatband discarded by a utility infielder who wishes he had it back. Each market, like every game, has a winner.

This program aired on July 17, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

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