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Money Doesn't Count for Much in Baseball

Speaking of returns on investment: How bad has it been for Red Sox owners John W. Henry and New York Times Co. (NYT) honcho Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., since their team won the World Series just three years ago?

Consider this. Henry's investment company John W. Henry & Co., whose fortunes peaked shortly after the last Series win, has all but collapsed. The story has already been well told -- here and elsewhere. But from the end of October 2004, Henry's main investment fund has lost 29% of its value while Wall Street's Standard & Poor's 500 index has gained 42%. No wonder clients have pulled out nearly all their money, cutting his funds under management from around $3 billion to just $431 million.

As for Sulzberger? Since the night of Oct. 27, 2004, he has seen about $2.9 billion, or 50%, wiped off the value of his family's company as the shares have plunged.

He has been dragged into an unseemly and humiliating row with investment bank Morgan Stanley (MS) over his family's special "voting" shares. And he has been forced to write down most of the value of the Boston Globe.

The Curse of the Bambino has turned out like the Curse of Tutankhamen's Tomb. You couldn't blame the pair if they were secretly praying a Rockies victory this week might undo the effects of 2004, and send the curse back to the team itself.

In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, Brett Arends doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Arends takes a critical look inside mutual funds and the personal finance industry in a twice-weekly column that ranges from investment advice for the general reader to the industry's latest scoop. Prior to joining TheStreet.com in 2006, he worked for more than two years at the Boston Herald, where he revived the paper's well-known 'On State Street' finance column and was part of a team that won two SABEW awards in 2005. He had previously written for the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail newspapers in London, the magazine Private Eye, and for Global Agenda, the official magazine of the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland. Arends has also written a book on sports 'futures' betting.
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