4/18/11 – Big $$$

The late Jim “Catfish” Hunter was the first athlete to become instantly rich – set for life financially – with one swipe of a pen. The New York Yankees gave him a guaranteed $1.5 million contract in the early 1970s when free agency was in its infancy. I remember asking Catfish how instant wealth impacted him as a pitcher.

“It’s harder to get up early on a cold, rainy January morning and work out,” he answered.

I was reminded of this story last week when talking to golfer Hal Sutton. Sutton said he thought one reason American golfers were being out performed by international players is because young American pro golfers become set for life financially so quickly they lose that competitive edge that comes from hard work and preparation. This, I think, holds true for athletes in all sports no matter where they’re from. I’m not blaming the athletes, you understand. Damn right, I’d take the money, too.

And, yes, getting up early on a cold, rainy morning to work out would be difficult. There’s no doubt I’d roll back over in bed and dreams about my money.

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