Newsom not giving up hope
Innovative stock idea could help Tribe prospect, others
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Taking stock in his Major League potential is not difficult for Randy Newsom."I'm an anti-prospect," joked Newsom, who dressed with the Indians for Friday's game at Disney. Selling stock in that same potential, however, is what has proven to be tricky. Newsom, a right-handed reliever who pitched for the Tribe's affiliates in Class A Kinston and Double-A Akron last season, is one of the many Minor Leaguers scraping by on measly wages as they work toward their dream of playing in the bigs. Newsom was not a high Draft pick, or even a Draft pick at all. His only signing "bonus" when he latched on with the Red Sox in 2004, after graduating from Tufts University, was the mere fact he got to suit up in a baseball uniform for a living. So late last year, while pitching in the Mexican Winter League, the 25-year-old Newsom concocted an idea that basically amounts to fantasy baseball at its best. He decided to sell stock in his career, offering baseball-loving investors the chance to buy a piece of his future Major League earnings. Newsom, who joined the Indians as the player to be named in the 2006 Coco Crisp trade, ran the idea by Bryan Pritz, one of his former Red Sox teammates. Pritz had a friend, Mike McGirr, a former pitcher in the A's system, who had written a paper with a similar idea while attending business school at Cornell. The three men put their heads together and came up with Real Sports Investments. They ran some progression models on Newsom's '07 stats at Akron -- a 4-1 record, 3.12 ERA and 18 saves in 46 appearances -- and calculated the eventual earnings of others who had similar numbers at similar stages of their career. Then they hit the market, offering $20 shares of Newsom, with each share worth about .002 percent of his career pay. The stock went up for grabs on the Internet in January, and, in about a month, 1,800 shares had been sold. Genius, right? "It's been incredible," Newsom said. "I could have never imagined how many great baseball fans there are." Naturally, there's a catch.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.