Oakland Athletics’ Ross Stripling had backup plan in financial planning

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MESA – Ten years ago, Ross Stripling was sitting at home unable to pitch, wondering if Tommy John elbow surgery had derailed his career.

Stripling, then 24, was a promising prospect fighting to earn a spot as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 5 starter after coming off a season with a 2.82 earned run average in 127.2 innings between High-A and Double-A.

During that recovery time, Stripling, who is scheduled to start tonight for the Oakland A’s against the Cleveland Guardians, made strides toward a backup plan if his playing career didn’t pan out – working in personal finance.

The Texas A&M graduate with a degree in business finance did not originally plan to go down that route.

After growing up in Southlake, Texas, Stripling enrolled at A&M for its highly esteemed engineering program. After a while, he decided to switch gears and pursue a finance degree. He said he enjoyed the way finances looked toward the future instead of the past.

The initial interest came from his family. Through the years, Stripling slowly gained knowledge from both of his grandfathers who actively invested in the stock market.

“I just learned about it from talking to them and picking their brains,” he said. “I invested my own signing bonus (of $130,000) when I signed. Not that it was anything crazy, but that kind of got my feet wet with investing.”

It all came together when Stripling was sidelined for the 2014 season and started making progress toward securing his financial licenses.

“The guy that my mom’s dad invested with in Houston just kind of fielded a call from my grandfather saying, ‘Hey, my grandson has a lot of free time on his hands right now. He’s maybe looking for a fallback plan if baseball doesn’t work. Do you have anything for him?’’’ Stripling said.

“I didn’t know what to expect. I walk in, like all dressed up and have no idea what to expect, and he’s just like, ‘You know, the best thing I can do is probably get you licensed. You’d have to take your Series 7 (General Securities Representative Exam) and (Series) 66 (Uniform Combined State Law Exam) to make you a licensed money manager.’”

The plan was for Stripling to go back to baseball and, whether he was successful or not, build a network of potential clients.

Stripling, who arrived to the A’s in a February trade with the Giants, has followed through on that objective. From his debut in 2016 to the present day, Stripling has worked with a variety of people and still actively manages 11 accounts.

Of course, baseball has worked out well for Stripling, a former All-Star: He has earned nearly $36 million in his career and is the A’s top-earning player at $9.25 million (plus $3.25 million from the Giants).

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