You sometimes hear about how popular Warren Buffett is. So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that baseball Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza brought up Buffett unprompted in an interview about sports and business.
It concerned a time when Piazza had to make some tough decisions about an Italian soccer team he’s struggled with. Piazza said that in trying to resolve his problems, he remembered putting into practice this chestnut from Buffett: “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.”
Later I asked Piazza what he admired most about Buffett.
“Aside from [being] a brilliant investor, the ability to see markets and see talent. [To] see companies that are up and coming,” Piazza said. “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.”
Then the Mets legend said that Buffett would have thrived in the world of sport.
“He would be a great baseball scout or a great baseball manager, going back to baseball and how it relates,” said Piazza. “I'm sure he's had a few tough things that didn't work out, as all investors do. And what do you do? You lick your wounds and you identify the next target.”
Piazza, whose father has been a successful auto dealer, spoke about some of his business ups and downs and how he’s looked to Buffett for direction.
“It seems like he's always been able to learn from the mistakes, and get better, and not make them again,” Piazza said about Buffett. “I mean, there's nothing wrong with the mistakes, but you have to learn from them. And that knowledge you acquire becomes wisdom. There's a difference [between] knowledge and wisdom. I mean, book smarts, and then wisdom is putting it into practice in the real world. So [I] just have a tremendous amount of respect for him. And obviously, being unbelievably rich doesn't hurt as well.
“I wish I had more,” he responded echoing more than a few investors.
Andy Serwer is editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter: @serwer.