Cramer: Welcome Back, Greenberg

Editor's Note: This article was originally published at 9:25 a.m. EDT on Real Money on August 16. To see Jim Cramer's latest commentary as it's published, sign up for a free trial of Real Money.

NEW YORK ( Real Money) -- Welcome back, Herb Greenberg!

I can't wait to read him every day and get my reality check -- get my "Herb on the Street," get my daily dose of skepticism that's so important to successful investing.

For those of you who don't know it, Herb and I go way back -- back so far that it makes me smile to think about how I first talked to him. When I was a hedge fund manager, there was one man in journalism who had the pulse of what not only was working but, more important, what shouldn't be working. His name? Herb Greenberg. His daily column in the San Francisco Chronicle defined much of the debate on the stocks the market coveted, often falsely, and his critical thinking often ran counter to the gospel I believed about certain stocks that I owned for my fund. So I paid someone in San Francisco to fax me his column the moment it hit the street so I would have an edge over others who waited to hear about it later in the day. I couldn't afford to wait. Too much was on the line.

When I started TheStreet in 1996, the first call I made was to Herb Greenberg. I didn't know him from Adam. (Close readers of the site might think I am referring to Adam Lashinsky, the amazing reporter who, at my urging, also soon came to work for TheStreet, but I am speaking figuratively here.) I said to myself and to Herb that if I could get him to work for TheStreet, it would have instant legitimacy. So I began the wooing. The first stop? The Securities and Exchange Commission.

Herb, justifiably, was concerned that a hedge fund manager would be establishing a Web site for one reason: to tout his stocks. I agreed, which is why I had already contacted the SEC to get the agency's blessing for my project and what kind of Chinese walls could be set up to ensure that such a travesty could never happen. We worked things out to the SEC's satisfaction.

With my persistence, Greenberg signed on. After that hire, I never doubted our success. Who could risk not reading Herb? Our slogan once Herb was hired was "Ignore us at your own risk." People couldn't afford to. We had Herb. We ultimately made it when so many others failed.

With Herb in the stable we became electric, a must-read. And we stayed that way through thick and thin, although the thin, at times, was a little overwhelming. We went through management turmoil at TheStreet -- tons of it -- and after six terrific years, Herb moved on.

But we never lost touch. I read him every day and when he came to CNBC we reunited. One of the amazing joys of going to work at the Englewood Cliffs studio was going over to see Herb as much as possible, not only because he's the best journalist going -- not business journalist, but journalist -- but also because he's one of the finest people in the world. He's a pillar of integrity and friendship. He's as "go-to" in real life as he is in business life.

Since then, I have never missed a Herb segment or a Herb column. He is the only man in the world who so enrages and engages me that I would run on the CNBC set without a mic and no makeup (cardinal sins in the TV biz) just to rebut him. It became a running joke at CNBC, "Here comes Cramer," because Herb had goaded me by red-flagging a stock I liked -- including almost every stock he mentioned today in his re-inaugural column. We have clashed on set too many times for me to count. We have argued, heatedly at times, about stocks I thought were going higher -- including ones that I knew shouldn't -- but I didn't care because money was being made! We would start as enemies but always conclude as friends because both of us knew that the synthesis could only help the investing process.

But when Herb challenged one of "my stocks," I never looked at it the same way again, and observers of "Mad Money" always heard me say, "I like it, but Herb has concerns about it, so there's probably a lot more risk to it than I thought." I would say that Herb had red-flagged the stock, so I had probably underestimated the potential for something to go wrong, and I wanted to make clear that Herb's skepticism now trumped my conviction. He makes me -- and everyone else -- more skeptical, which raises everyone's game.

Risk management is everything in this business. You can make all the money you can, but if you get hit by one of the many stocks that Herb red-flagged over the years, that stock can wipe out a huge amount of your profits. Herb's the first to admit that he can be wrong, another trait I will always love about him, but in my experience, he's a lot more right than he is wrong. And when the React-O-Meter goes spinning out of control, look out, you might be stepping on a real landmine. (If you don't know what the React-O-Meter is, go to Google. It's the first entry.)

So, the most critical mind in the biz is back in the fold -- and we will still get to see him on CNBC. It's the best of both worlds, the way I see it. Herb's presence is our legitimacy once again.

Ignore us at your own risk. You can't afford not to read Herb Greenberg.

Welcome back, dear friend, you were sorely missed.

Jim Cramer is the co-founder of TheStreet and one of its largest shareholders.

Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, held no positions in stocks mentioned.

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