By Brian Rogers, Special to The Baltimore Sun
10:38 AM EDT, May 10, 2012
My first memories of The Baltimore Sun go back to 1982, when my wife and I were planning to move to Baltimore from Massachusetts. In the days before the Internet, home buyers turned to The Sun's classified ads to get their arms around the range of housing alternatives.
Thirty years ago was not only a time when The Sun's real estate section was the go-to source for home listings, but it was also a time of low-teens mortgage rates and a housing crisis (albeit not quite as bad as our most recent crisis). I remember how daunting it was to see a house we hoped to buy in Towson listed in The Sun, use our entire savings of $4,000 as a down payment and assume a 12 percent mortgage from the seller. At the time it seemed like a deal. In today's world of 4 percent mortgages, 12 percent seems inconceivable.
Since moving to Baltimore, I've been a daily reader of The Sun. I've spent my entire 30-year career at T. Rowe Price, and my morning routine begins with The Baltimore Sun, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and occasionally The New York Times, in that order. I always want to begin locally before moving on to the world of global finance.
Because I always enjoyed reading The Sun, I ended up as an investor in two of its parent companies at different points. Recall that The Sun was privately owned for most of its 175-year history. In the '80s, the controlling family sold The Sun to the Times Mirror Co., which later was acquired by the Tribune Co., which in turn was acquired in a controversial leveraged buyout in 2007. The high level of debt used to finance this deal resulted in Tribune's bankruptcy filing in 2008.
Over the years, I have particularly enjoyed several writers who deserve a shout-out. Political writer Roger Simon was always funny and outrageous. Columnist Dan Rodricks writes with heart and soul. Jay Hancock produced some of the best investigative business reporting that I ever read. Eileen Ambrose has always been able to translate personal finance issues into English.
As my mother stashed away notable newspaper editions for me, I have stashed away copies of The Sun for my kids. These include important dates such as Oct. 20, 1987 (the stock market crash), Sept. 15, 1995 (the last Evening Sun), Jan. 29, 2001 (the Ravens' Super Bowl victory), Sept. 12, 2001 (9/11) and Sept. 20, 2003 (Hurricane Isabel). In addition I have copies of my three children's birthday editions.
I've also saved copies of the many times I've been quoted in The Sun, usually as an astute investor and one time as an insensitive corporate fat cat. Only one of the two characterizations, in my opinion, is accurate.
Brian Rogers is chairman and chief investment officer of T. Rowe Price Group Inc. He lives with his family in Towson.
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