Ralph Baker ’89 Releases Book

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA – Hampden-Sydney Basketball legend and Hall-of-Famer Ralph Baker '89 recently released a self-published book entitled Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids from Brooklyn Predicted The Great Recession And The Pain Ahead. The book is currently available as an e-book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo and a hard copy will be coming out soon. Baker is currently in the process of arranging a book signing at Hampden-Sydney.

The New York Shock Exchange, created in 2006, is a travel basketball team and youth mentorship program which teaches competitive basketball skills and investment management skills. In addition to learning and playing basketball, the team is also introduced to the world of business and investing by being expected to pick at least one publicly-traded company and track the stock over the course of one year along with general financial literacy.

The first three chapters dive into Baker's background and one entire chapter is devoted to his time at Hampden-Sydney and what it means to wear the Garnet & Grey. According to Baker, the chapter on Hampden-Sydney is a valuable read to all of the H-SC community, not just the basketball team or athletes.

"And just as I had suspected, with their ability to spot trends before adults, inner-city kids from Brooklyn knew more about investing than I, Peter Lynch, Bill Miller, and any hedge fund manager or Wall Street analyst on the planet," said Ralph Baker. "We not only helped them perform due diligence on their stock picks, but documented how macroeconomic forces were affecting their picks and the market in general. In the process, we noticed how key drivers of the economy were dismal and the U.S. economy was in the midst of stagflation. Since the 'Great Recession' that the Shock Exchange foretold, financial literacy has been championed by the Wall Street community."

The goal of the Shock Exchange program is to not only teach the kids about basketball, but to also team them financial literacy. Many people are not taught the basics of finances once they enter the "real world" and often have to learn it the hard way on their own. It is becomingly increasingly important for young athletes to learn financial literacy, especially with the recent ESPN documentary "Broke" that detailed the many financial failings of millionaire athletes. Many people, particularly athletes, fail financially because they invest in high-risk, high-reward investments with having little to no knowledge of how to do it along with entourages that are out to take an athlete's money.

Baker has found that many of the kids who have gone through his program have learned a lot about basketball, but also off the court knowledge that has made them a better person. While many of the benefits of financial literacy aren't apparent to the kids at first, they have proven to be valuable lessons as they have grown up and entered the work force.