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By the time Larry retired from baseball in 1976, he had his real estate broker's license and began selling lots in the mountains of northeastern Arizona. "I didn't know what I was doing," he says. "I learned by doing, figuring it out. To be standing here today is a minor miracle."
"Here" means the Scottsdale office building that is the base of his LKY Development Company and from which Larry manages a tidy empire as a developer of shopping centers, office buildings and apartment complexes. "You can't estimate real estate until you go to sell it," says Larry, who, like all the Younts, is always self-effacing when discussing himself and his work. "All I'll say is that I'm no whiz. I had a brother and a father-in-law who had capital, I had some ideas and the willingness to work. But, believe me, I'm no genius."
Larry won't even allow himself to be photographed. "It wouldn't be right," he says.
"Larry is much smarter than he thinks he is, probably because the Younts would never allow themselves arrogance," says Martin Stone, a Lake Placid, N.Y., businessman who owns the Triple A Phoenix Firebirds and who is a business partner with Larry. The characteristic Yount humility can easily be traced to Phil, who also walks the halls of LKY; after retiring from Rocketdyne a few years ago, he moved to Phoenix, where he serves LKY as a sort of jack-of-all-trades.
Robin's role in LKY is strictly as an investor. "As far as I'm concerned, I'd just as soon put everything in the bank," he says. "Larry's the mind person. He amazes me. He never has to look up a telephone number; I can't remember my folks' number. Someday I might get more involved, but right now, I let Larry take care of the business. If everything fell apart, I'd still have far more than I need in the bank. I don't worry about that. But I have pretty simple needs."
Contract negotiations, however, are never simple. Acting as Robin's agent, Larry handled the negotiations with the six chosen clubs: the Angels, Royals, Blue Jays, Cubs, Dodgers and Brewers. Each offered a little more than $3 million a season. All indicated they would, as Robin remembers, "do what it takes" to sign him. Then Phil and Larry gave Robin their advice. Says Phil, "I've stepped into my youngest son's life only twice—when he was going through that golf decision, and this. In both cases, he was frustrated. Larry and I both felt that leaving Milwaukee was wrong. A lot of other players have gone to these so-called winners—and haven't won. Gene Autry never quite wins, no matter how hard he tries. There were no guarantees in another city, and Robin can't duplicate the friendships and associations he's made in Milwaukee."
Also, Michele and the children were hesitant to leave. "In the end, the reasons to stay outweighed the reasons to leave," says Robin. "Bud Selig was a big part of the reason for staying. Hey, Milwaukee's been a big part of the reason I've had some success. It's small, without a ton of media attention, and it's easier to play there than in a big media town. It's a family city. I can go to the park, play, come home and be with my family. The kids are very happy in our neighborhood."
And Robin was happy enough with the Brewers' financial offer, never allowing a bidding war to develop during negotiations, even though he knew that the Angels would have given him Disneyland if he had asked for it. "I'm happy with the going rate," he says. "I realized that I could be myself in Milwaukee easier than I could anywhere else."
Being himself has meant living for nine years in a modest neighborhood, where his children have grown up as just average kids, like all their friends along the street. Robin and Michele—a California native whom Robin met while in high school-guard their children's privacy with great care. They will not, for example, allow them to be photographed. "I want them to grow up as normal as possible," says Robin. "I realize that their upbringing can't be completely normal, not with my baseball life. But we can and do try. I had a very stable upbringing, and I respect what my parents did for me."
Living in Milwaukee also means personal privacy for Robin. "People let me alone," he says. "I wish I weren't so silly about being in public. But I'd rather play baseball in front of 55,000 people than say 20 words in front of a group of 100. I wish I didn't get so nervous and could speak. But I can't."