Garry Maddox is one of the fortunate ones, a pro athlete who dealt with agents and did well. But then, Maddox, 38, a big league centerfielder for 15 years until he retired from the Philadelphia Phillies a year ago, has always known the importance of self-sufficiency. One of a family of nine children reared in the projects of San Pedro, Calif., he hawked the Los Angeles Herald Examiner in bars near his home when he was 10. On Sundays he sold papers to worshipers at two neighborhood churches from 6 a.m. to noon. He pocketed about $25 a week.
Maddox had a .285 career batting average and won eight Gold Gloves, more than any other National League outfielder except Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays. Today he and his advisers say he has a net worth of more than $3 million. He and his family—wife Sondra; sons Garry, 12, and Derrick, 11; and two daughters adopted last year, Ashley and Lauren, both 2—live in a sprawling ranch house in Narberth, Pa. Maddox is in real estate partnerships that have interests in an office building in Cleveland, a shopping center in Florida and residential units in Colorado. He has 11 limited partnerships in oil and gas in Ohio. He owns standardbred and thoroughbred horses and has stock in the First Bank Corporation of Ohio, General Electric, IBM and Progressive Insurance. The annual return on his portfolio averages 23%, according to Mark McCormack's International Management Group, which coordinates his investments. Kurt Schoeppler, a vice-president at IMG in Cleveland, helped set up Maddox's latest venture. World Series Concessions Inc., a firm that owns 15% of the concessions at the Philadelphia airport and sells novelty items to Atlantic City casinos. World Series Concessions will bring Maddox some $175,000 this year.
"Players are too concerned about how much money a financial adviser will cost them," says Maddox, who pays IMG $12,000 a year to manage his investments. "They pick someone who's cheaper, thinking they're saving money. I'm more concerned with protecting my money."
When Maddox was called up by the San Francisco Giants in 1972, he earned the major league minimum of $12,500. He doubled his salary the next season—without the services of an agent. "Players believed then they wouldn't get as good a deal if they had an agent," Maddox says. "Agents made management mad."
However, he did seek assistance with investments, settling on IMG, in part because of its conservative approach. He also liked IMG's client list, which included Arnold Palmer and Bjorn Borg. And though he hired IMG mainly for financial management, when he reached a stalemate during negotiations for each of his next two contracts and held out, he had IMG send in an agent to close the deal.
When Maddox was dealt to the Phillies in 1975, he was making $54,000. Five years later his salary was $675,000, thanks to the advent of free agency and the efforts of agent Jerry Kapstein. In 1980 Maddox signed his final, six-year, $4 million baseball deal.
"There are two kinds of nouveau riche athletes," Maddox says, looking back on that period. "Those who spend to make up for everything they never had. And those who want to hold on to every penny. Being afraid I was going to lose my money motivated me to make sure I knew what was happening to it."
John Macklin, a senior staff vice-president at IMG, taught Maddox to analyze financial statements and to understand prospectuses. Maddox, who was soon poring over The Wall Street Journal, says, "I made IMG tell me everything they were doing and why. It took me five years to trust IMG completely."
Maddox, who's now taking some economics and accounting courses at Temple University while pursuing a degree in history, says he has never changed his investment strategy. "You just have to have a lot of patience," he says. "And you definitely need an educated sounding board. My best friend could call me up and say he has a can't-miss deal for me. And I'll call up the people at IMG and run it by them."
Maddox's key to success: attention to detail.