If billionaire investor Warren Buffett ever wants to take a swing at a career in baseball, then he'll have at least one Hall-of-Famer in his corner.
"He would be a great baseball scout or a great baseball manager," former MLB catcher Mike Piazza said of Buffett in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Monday. Piazza was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016 following a 16-year career that saw him play with five different MLB teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets.
Piazza describes himself as a fan of Buffett, and the former baseball star told Yahoo Finance that he's previously relied on advice from the "Oracle of Omaha" when it comes to his own investments.
(Piazza referenced an Italian soccer team in which he bought a majority stake for roughly $11 million in 2016 before shutting the team down just two years later amid ballooning costs. In making that decision, Piazza told Yahoo Finance he remembered the Buffett quote: "Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.")
"[I] just have a tremendous amount of respect for him," Piazza says of Buffett, who has an estimated net worth of $85.9 billion, according to Bloomberg. "And obviously, being unbelievably rich doesn't hurt as well."
So, why does Piazza think the 89-year-old Buffett would succeed in baseball? It has to do with the billionaire's ability to easily move on and learn from his failures. "I'm sure he's had a few tough things that didn't work out, as all investors do," Piazza says in the interview. "And what do you do? You lick your wounds and you identify the next target."
Piazza adds that he feels like Buffett has "always been able to learn from the mistakes, and get better, and not make them again."
"I mean, there's nothing wrong with the mistakes, but you have to learn from them."
Sports psychologists often make a point of teaching players that failures like a batter striking out or a pitcher giving up a homerun can be valuable learning opportunities if players are able to figure out what they did wrong on make the necessary adjustments. "Failing can be better than succeeding if you use it as a chance to work on what you need to learn," Ken Ravizza, a mental-skills coach for the Chicago Cubs told the Wall Street Journal in 2018.
"There's no way I'm going to make a lot of business and investment decisions without making some mistakes," Buffett has said. "I may try to minimize them. I don't dwell on them at all. I don't look back…"
Meanwhile, Piazza also praised Buffett's "ability to see markets and see talent," as an example of why the billionaire compares favorably to a baseball scout or manager, who would need to identify talented athletes. Buffett has the ability to "see companies that are up and coming," Piazza says. "See companies that have good teams, and that are efficient, that are achieving things. That are proactive, not reactive. And then having the capital to sort of make these strategic bets."
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