A rewarding and profitable opening night as Heat’s Haywood Highsmith cashes in on his first professional start
The Florida Times-Union
Martha and Richard Stauffer, Haywood Highsmiths’ new owners, sat late that afternoon in their new home in Vero Beach, sipping their favorite drinks from the wine cooler they’d just installed. The temperature outside had dropped a few degrees, and they’d just turned the heat on to warm up the front room.
Martha, a soft-spoken, soft-drinking real estate agent, was preparing to lead a three-hour session with Haywood Highsmith, a newly minted professional baseball team in South Florida.
“I really enjoy selling homes,” she said. “This is a brand new, small, independent player that doesn’t have an owner, and it is a real challenge to sell them.”
Richard Stauffer, a retired real estate broker, was sipping a fresh-squeezed lemonade, and Martha was going over the sales points for the evening. “We are open from noon to 3:00, so you need to get started in about four hours for a good time.”
“OK,” Martha said, “but don’t stop until the champagne is out of the bottle.”
Martha and Richard would be living at Haywood Highsmith as the team’s co-owners, along with Joe and Carol Stauffer, their two children.
“We are excited about it,” Martha said. “We’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and we needed a smaller, independent team to help us run this.”
The owners have been making an effort to run a tight, well-oiled team, taking care to maintain strict budgets and running the business like a small business. With a little planning and a great deal of luck, she said, they could easily make up to $100,000 per year on the team.
The team plays its spring season at the Fort Lauderdale St. Pete Times Forum and its autumn at the Homestead Miami Marlin-Prospect Park. The team also owns and operates a youth baseball team in Vero Beach and has a semi