“I’ve been interested in Financial Markets and Investing since a very early age.”
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. still has a big impact on Clint Kirby’s life and enthusiasm for financial investment strategy.
Back in 1995, as the former infielder for the Baltimore Orioles was approaching a record for number of consecutive games played in MLB (2,131), a teen-aged Clint Kirby was waiting to turn a passion for trading baseball cards into some real cash.
The story goes that Kirby started trading baseball cards with friends when he was 12. It didn’t take long for him to have a solid, diverse collection.
“I could always find the cards of the guys who ended up being pretty good.,” he recalls. “Most of them really don’t have a cash value because they’re printed by a company on cardboard as part of a bubble gum pack. But trading cards helps you learn how a market works and I loved it. I found I had a knack for it.”
But some do have value, which young Kirby realized. Pretty soon, he got a display case and his parents let him sell them at baseball card shows. This allowed him to buy more cards and other things that kids wanted.
During the 1995 season, there was a lot of talk about when Ripken would break the record of playing in the most consecutive games. Kirby remembers that season because his analysis of the market correctly indicated that Ripken’s cards would likely continue to increase in value as the star got closer to breaking the record. To take advantage of the record, Kirby started pursuing his first real strategic plan: Purchasing as many Cal Ripken cards as possible while the value was comparatively low.
Sure enough, what he predicted as a teen actually happened. There was a frenzy of trading the Ripken cards as values increased more and more. Just before the infielder broke the records, everyone wanted Ripken cards, which Kirby was happy to provide — at a value that was much more than he bought them for weeks earlier.
In the end, Kirby recalls making a profit of about $300 on a $100 investment — 300% return is pretty good for a 14-year-old kid.
“The trading of Cal Ripken cards taught me that it’s important to think ahead and anticipate when people are going to rush to buy so that you can be selling at that time. The smart people get in early and sell when everybody else thinks they’re getting in at the right time.
“Trading Cal Ripken cards whetted my appetite for learning more about markets. Applying intelligence and analysis to advising people on how to maximize their investments became my passion. For me, figuring out how people should be invested in the markets is a modern-day version, and even more stimulating, of trading those baseball cards 20 years ago.”