Why Warren Buffett thinks about Ted Williams when he misses an opportunity

One of the world’s most legendary and respected investors, Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B), may have some investing regrets. But just like in baseball, even the greatest hitters strike out now and then.

“I’ve made so many mistakes, if I tried to kick myself, my legs would be exhausted,” Buffett told Yahoo Finance’s Andy Serwer in a March 10 interview at Berkshire Hathaway’s headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. “You don’t kick yourself in the investment. You don’t kick yourself when you make a mistake. I mean, it is part of what you do. And you know, I was there when Ted Williams batted .406.”

Williams, the legendary Red Sox left fielder, achieved that batting average in 1941. And he has since been the last baseball player to bat above .400 since. Keep in mind: that means for every 10 times he was at bat, he didn’t make it on base six of those times.

Similarly, great investing comes with its fair share of missed opportunities and wrong way bets. Buffett is no stranger to this.

A classic Ted Williams hitting sequence. (Sports Studio Photos/Getty Images)

A couple of those big missed opportunities for Buffett include mega-cap tech names like Amazon (AMZN) and Alphabet (GOOGL).

When asked why he didn’t invest in Google before the company went public, Buffett said, “Well, that’s a pretty damn good question. But I don’t have a good answer. I definitely should’ve owned Google.”

Meanwhile, Amazon’s massive success and meteoric stock are things he and his vice chairman Charlie Munger continue to wrestle with.

“Those are the kind of businesses I think about a lot. Charlie thinks about them a lot. You can’t help but do it. I mean, those are incredible business stories.”

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, throws a pitch at the ballpark for an Omaha Royals baseball game. Photo by Mark Peterson/Corbis SABA (Photo by mark peterson/Corbis via Getty Images)

Big tech stocks, or the so-called “FAANG” names, have been on a tear, even as the COVID-19 outbreak created an extremely volatile market environment.

“You’re seeing in this kind of a market, those companies don’t need capital. Well, Netflix needs capital. But basically, the big companies in market value don’t need capital. And that will separate them even more from the rest of the pack. I mean, they have an incredible business model,” Buffett said.

And it’s never too late to revisit one of those missed opportunities, according to Buffett. “Well, actually, one of the other fellows [at Berkshire] now has bought a little Amazon.”

Catch more of Buffett’s investing know-how on May 2 at the Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Shareholders meeting, streamed exclusively on Yahoo Finance.

Click here for complete coverage of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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