Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. There’s something about the first pitch of the season that makes it feel like spring is finally here, even if the weather suggests otherwise.
If you’re a Blue Jays fan, there’s plenty to be excited about this year. The team’s got most of its starting pitchers back, and most of last year’s solid lineup as well. Here’s hoping this season brings another trip to the playoffs and maybe – just maybe – a berth in the World Series. If you’re a Yankee or Red Sox fan, which everybody seems to be if they don’t pull for the Blue Jays, you have a lot to be excited about too. 2017 is shaping up to be a good year in the American League, and will probably feature a tight pennant race right down to October. When I was thinking about the return of baseball and doing some reading online, I found these pretty interesting facts about the game – in particular, from a finance/investing perspective.
In 2017, the sport’s highest paid player is Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. This year, he’ll earn a cool $33,000,000. That’s roughly one million dollars for each game he’ll pitch. For comparison’s sake, in 1930 baseball’s top-paid player was Babe Ruth. His salary? $80,000. However, while that may look shabby compared to Kershaw’s 33 mil, keep in mind that the Babe was making more than then-U.S. President Herbert Hoover. When a reporter asked the Sultan of Swat (he was a man of many nicknames) what he thought of making more than the President, Babe replied, “I had a better year than he did.” If you collected baseball cards as a kid – or even if you still do - you may be interested to know about the most valuable card in existence today. It’s a 1909 card of Honus Wagner, produced by the American Tobacco Company and distributed in cigarette packs.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the card; it was famously purchased at auction by Wayne Gretzky in 1991…for a mere $451,000. Since then, that same card has changed hands a couple of times, most recently bought by Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick for almost $3 million. The card is that valuable because of its rarity. Wagner demanded that production of the card be stopped – although his reasons for doing so are still being debated. At any rate, it’s made some collectors very, very wealthy, and made a lot of people comb through their attic looking for any hidden gems in their own collections!
So if you’re a baseball fan, enjoy the season and I hope it turns out the way you’d like. If not, just remember the classic slogan used by Brooklyn Dodger fans: “Wait ‘til next year!”