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Has “Sell in May” Gone Away?

May 20th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Financial News

Investors aren’t yet backing out of stocks this spring.

business_stuffHealthy skepticism hasn’t motivated much selling. An old belief has lingered on Wall Street for years – the belief that investors should get out of stocks in May and get back into stocks in October. But here we are in May – and while analysts are wondering how much more upward progress stocks can make, gains are still occurring. On May 9, the S&P 500 closed at 1,626.67 – up 1.82% so far for the month after going +1.81% for April.1

A May retreat is hardly a given. You can readily find articles questioning the current rally, insisting a pullback is ahead. After all, didn’t stocks swoon in spring 2010 and spring 2011? Wasn’t last spring just an aberration?

The selloffs of spring 2010 and spring 2011 weren’t really prompted by seasonal behavior. You had the EU debt crisis, the twin calamities hitting Japan, and the debt ceiling fight (and the resulting U.S. credit rating downgrade) occurring. By contrast, across May-September 2012 the S&P 500 rose more than 4%.2

Going back decades, the case for selling in May appears just as inconclusive. During 1965-1984, the S&P lost ground 15 times in May – but that 20-year stretch included a 16-year secular bear market. From 1985-1997, the S&P 500 never had a down May.2,3

Conditions could support further gains. Earnings are sometimes called the mother’s milk of stocks, and we’ve seen about 5% Q1 earnings growth. The Fed is still purchasing $85 billion of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities per month. Hiring has picked up. Consumer prices are barely rising. Money is regularly flowing into stock-based mutual funds this year for the first time since the market downturn of 2008.4,5

Beyond these factors, there is still enough optimism on Wall Street to counter skepticism. If the current bull market is getting long in the tooth, few see a bear market quickly emerging.

As CNBC.com recently noted, Morgan Stanley chief investment strategist David Darst maintains an informal 6-point bear market “checklist” – and Darst sees none of the six bearish signals currently flashing (Fed tightening, recession looming, bond spreads widening, evident investor euphoria, stretched stock price valuations, retreat in small caps + transportation + bank stocks). While the Fed’s easing may be fueling the rally more than anything else, QE3 is still continuing undiminished.5

The “sell in May” idea actually emerged in Great Britain, not America. Years ago, London brokers would go on holiday in May and head back to their desks in September, resulting in thin trading and subdued returns in the interim. Supposedly, this was how the “sell in May” pattern originated, and it may not even apply in Great Britain anymore: investors selling the Dow Jones STOXX 600 in May and buying back in for September would have lost money in three of the five years from 2008-12.6

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.
1 – money.cnn.com/data/markets/sandp/ [5/9/13]
2 – dailyfinance.com/on/sell-may-investing-stock-market/ [5/3/13]
3 – forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2010/03/11/secular-bear-market-reaches-10th-anniversary/ [3/11/10]
4 – cnbc.com/id/100723658 [5/9/13]
5 – cnbc.com/id/100720862 [5/8/13]
6 – reuters.com/article/2013/05/07/us-markets-stocks-seasonals-idUSBRE9460IT20130507 [5/7/13]

Charitable IRA Gifts

May 20th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Financial News

In 2013, you can once again donate up to $100k to a charity tax-free.

grampa_kids_presentThe IRS extends a major tax break. Thanks to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, charitable IRA gifts are once again allowed in 2013. An IRA owner aged 70½ or older may gift up to $100,000 this year to either a 170(b)(1)(A) public foundation or a 501(c)(3) charity. Congress may elect to extend this opportunity in 2014 and subsequent years.1,2

What do you gain by doing this? The possible tax benefits of a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from an IRA are threefold.

A QCD counts toward your RMD, but it doesn’t count as taxable income. If you dread mandatory IRA withdrawals and the taxes that come with them, you should know that a charitable IRA gift can be used to satisfy all or part of the annual Required Minimum Distribution. At the same time, the contribution amount is excluded from your gross income. With higher tax rates and surtaxes kicking in this year, reducing your AGI may be a priority.1,3

A QCD can help you reduce the size of your taxable estate. Most of the money in a traditional IRA will eventually be taxable. Donating some or all of these assets to charity will lower your taxable estate dollar for dollar. (As you can surmise, QCDs are more beneficial to traditional IRA owners than Roth IRA owners from this standpoint.)3,4

A QCD could also help you contend with charitable donation limits. You may reach a point where you would like to donate an amount greater than 50% of your AGI to charity. Normally, the IRS doesn’t allow that – but charitable IRA gifts don’t count against that 50% limit as they aren’t included in a taxpayer’s gross income. While a charitable IRA gift isn’t tax-deductible, you may not itemize to begin with – many retirees just take the standard deduction.3

How do you do this? To realize most or all of these tax perks, the gift has to take the form of a qualified charitable distribution (QCD), alternately known as a trustee-to-trustee transfer or IRA charitable rollover. In other words, the financial firm serving as the trustee of your IRA writes a check directly to the charity. A financial professional you know and trust can help you fill out the accompanying paperwork.2

If the IRA trustee makes the check payable to you and you deposit it and write a check for the equivalent amount made payable to the charity, it is a taxable event and the whole purpose of the charitable IRA gift is defeated. Should you make that blunder, you will have to declare the income and just take a normal charitable deduction on the donation.2

What does the fine print say? To make a QCD, you have to own an IRA and be age 70½ or older. You can’t make a QCD from an employer-sponsored retirement account such as a 401(k) or 403(b); in fact, you can’t make a QCD from a SEP or Simple IRA either.1,2

The QCD can’t be made in a way whereby you would derive benefits from the charity or foundation later. It can’t become the basis of a charitable remainder trust or a gift annuity, for example. A QCD also can’t be made to a donor-advised fund (via which the contributed assets would be invested and grow tax-free prior to the actual charitable donation).2

A QCD can’t be a split interest gift. The amount of the QCD must otherwise have been considered taxable income, and you are not permitted to claim a charitable deduction for it.2

Help a charity, help your financial situation. If you are well off and don’t really need or want the additional income and income taxes that would result from your RMD, a charitable IRA gift may offer you a solution with the flavor of a win-win – a boon for the charity, a tax break for you and/or your heirs.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.
1 – irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Charitable-Donations-from-IRAs-for-2012-and-2013 [5/1/13]
2 – fpanet.org/ToolsResources/ArticlesBooksChecklists/Articles/CharitablePlannedGiving/QualifiedCharitableDistributionsfor2012and2013/ [1/29/13]
3 – bankrate.com/finance/taxes/gifts-to-charity-pay-off-on-your-taxes-1.aspx [1/10/13]
4 – fidelitycharitable.org/giving-strategies/advisors/donating-retirement-assets-to-charity.shtml [5/7/13]

Reassessing Retirement Assumptions

May 20th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Financial News

What makes financial sense for some baby boomers may not make sense for you.

retired_couple_gardenThere is no “typical” retirement. Many baby boomers want one and believe that they will have one, and their futures may indeed unfold as planned. For others, the story will be different. Just as there is no routine retirement, there are no rote financial moves that should be made before or during this phase of life, and no universal truths about the retirement experience.

Here are some commonly held assumptions – suppositions that may or may not prove true for you, depending on your financial and lifestyle circumstances.

#1. You should take Social Security as late as possible. Generally speaking, this is a smart move. If you were born in the years from 1943-1954, your monthly benefit will be 25% smaller if you claim Social Security at 62 instead of your “full” retirement age of 66. If you wait until 70 to take Social Security, your monthly benefit will be 32% larger than if you had taken it at 66.1

So why would anyone apply for Social Security benefits in their early 60s? The fact is, some seniors really need the income now. Some have health issues or the prospect of hereditary diseases influencing their choice. Single retirees don’t have a second, spousal income to count on, and that is another factor in the decision. For most people, waiting longer implies a larger lifetime payout from America’s retirement trust. Not everyone can bank on longevity or relative affluence, however.

#2. You’ll probably live 15-20 years after you retire. You may live much longer, especially if you are a woman. According to the Census Bureau, the population of Americans 100 or older grew 65.8% between 1980 and 2010, and 82.8% of centenarians were women in 2010. The real eye-opener: in 2010, slightly more than a third of America’s centenarians lived alone in their own homes. Had their retirement expenses lessened with time? Doubtful to say the least.2

#3. You should step back from growth investing as you get older. As many investors age, they shift portfolio assets into investment vehicles that offer less risk than stocks and stock funds. This is a well-regarded, long-established tenet of asset allocation. Does it apply for everyone? No. Some retirees may need to invest for growth well into their 60s or 70s because their retirement savings are meager. There are retirement planners who actually favor aggressive growth investing for life, arguing that the rewards outweigh the risks at any age.

#4. The way most people invest is the way you should invest. Again, just as there is no typical retirement, there is no typical asset allocation strategy or investment that works for everyone. Your time horizon, your risk tolerance, and your current retirement nest egg represent just three of the variables to consider when you evaluate whether you should or should not enter into a particular investment.

#5. Going Roth is a no-brainer. Not necessarily. If you are mulling a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) conversion, the big question is whether the tax savings in the end will be worth the tax you will pay on the conversion today. The younger you are – roughly speaking – the greater the possibility the answer will be “yes”, as your highest-earning years are likely in the future. If you are older and at or near your peak earning potential, the conversion may not be worth it at all.

#6. A lump sum payout represents a good deal. Some corporations are offering current and/or former workers a choice of receiving pension plan assets in a lump sum payout instead of periodic payments. They aren’t doing this out of generosity; they are doing it because actuaries have advised them to lessen their retirement obligations to loyal employees. For many pension plan participants, electing not to take the lump sum and sticking with the lifelong periodic payments may make more sense in the long run. The question is, can the retiree invest the lump sum in such a way that might produce more money over the long run, or not? The lump sum payout does offer liquidity and flexibility that the periodic payments don’t, but there are few things as economically reassuring as predictable, recurring retirement income. Longevity is another factor in this decision.

#7. Living it up in your 60s won’t hurt you in your 80s. Some couples withdraw much more than they should from their savings in the early years of retirement. After a few years, they notice a drawdown happening – their portfolio isn’t returning enough to replenish their retirement nest egg, and so the fear of outliving their money grows. This is a good argument for living beneath your means while still carefully planning and budgeting some “epic adventures” along the way.

Your retirement plan should be created and periodically revised with an understanding of the unique circumstances of your life and your unique financial objectives. There is no such thing as generic retirement planning, and that is because none of us will have generic retirements.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.
1 – www.forbes.com/sites/janetnovack/2011/02/15/the-big-decision-when-to-take-social-security/ [2/15/11]
2 – money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2013/01/07/what-people-who-live-to-100-have-in-common [1/7/13]

May – Monthly Economic Update

May 20th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Monthly Economic Update

Weekly Economic Update

The Auditing of America’s Wealthy

May 19th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Videos

What to Give that Beloved Graduate

May 19th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

grad_dayLet’s face it. When it comes to graduation gifts, most students would probably prefer cold, hard cash. Or maybe a plane ticket for a European backpacking trip or a Mexican beach vacation.

But as student loan debt has leaped higher than a souped-up SAT score, it may be wise to think twice about what makes a good graduation gift.

In the last seven years, for borrowers younger than 30, student loan debt has catapulted, hitting $322 billion in December 2012, a 124 percent increase from 2005, according to a recent Federal Reserve Bank of New York study.

To get graduates off on a financially balanced footing, we’ve gathered some money-savvy gift ideas.

Cash alternative

“Obviously, cash is king,” said personal finance blogger Joseph Audette, a personal finance writer/blogger for NerdWallet. But students, especially high school graduates juggling their own finances for the first time, can quickly blow through a lot of cash, he notes. Instead?

“Get a gift card from the university’s student bookstore. It’s a little more thought than writing a check and lets them use the funds for things they’ll really need in school.”

Give a book

Too often, friends and family feel pressure to spend lavishly on a graduation gift, said the 30-year-old financial blogger, who says $25 to $50 or even a money-minded book can be more than adequate. For the latter, he recommends:

• “The Millionaire Next Door”: “An easy read that puts young people in the right mindset” for managing their spending and savings.

• “A Random Walk Down Wall Street“: “A classic (that) provides great background for young grads interested in investing.”

• “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”: “A (Dr. Seuss) children’s book that never gets old … and makes a surprisingly thoughtful graduation present.”

Old school

In their young lifetimes, many grads today have likely never seen one: a paper U.S. savings bond. They became extinct on Jan. 1, 2012, and can be purchased only in digital form. (The only exception: Paper savings bonds can be purchased using your IRS tax refund.) To give a student a Series EE or I electronic savings bond – in amounts starting at $25 – go to the U.S. Treasury website: TreasuryDirect. gov. It also offers free graduation gift cards that you can personalize and print out to include with your gift.

Long-term gifting

To introduce a young graduate to the benefits of long-term investing, try a mutual fund, said Lon Burford, a partner with wealth management firm Genovese Burford & Brothers in Sacramento. A fund like the Vanguard S&P 500, he said, is “a great teaching opportunity financially as graduates begin getting closer to when they’ll stand on their own two feet.

“With one gift, you’re helping them own Apple, Microsoft and Google – companies they’re interested in,” said Burford, as well as stock stalwarts like Chevron and Procter & Gamble.

And with a mutual fund, he notes, students will get an annual report where they can track the performance of the dozens of companies they own.

Give a share

If you prefer, individual shares of stock – say, in a student’s favorite company – also can be a gift that keeps on growing. Obviously, a $450 share of Apple is beyond most budgets, but plenty of other companies are affordable.

Low-cost online stock-buying sites, like Capital One’s ShareBuilder, let a graduate get started. Its “Gift of Stock” promotion – with a $50 bonus for new accounts – is tied to graduates.

There also are personalized stocks from sites like OneShare.com in San Francisco, where you can buy a single share of a favorite stock, such as Nike or Disney. They can be framed with customized inscription.

Job-hunting help

For grads heading into the work world, consider these: A new jacket or updated skirt/shirt for interviews. A résumé- or blog-writing class. A laptop, if they don’t already own one. A membership in their college alumni organization, which can help with job connections.

Buy an experience

Some young grads heading off to four years of college studies or that first 9-to-5 job deserve a once-in-a-lifetime experience, said NerdWallet’s Audette, such as a gift certificate for sky diving or funds to fuel a cross-country road trip.

Splurge a little

For grads who wind up with lots of cash from family and friends, financial experts say it’s certainly OK to splurge, at least a little.

A good rule of thumb: Spend 10 percent to 20 percent of your cash stash on whatever you want. For instance, if you receive $500, spend $50 to $100 on something fun.

“It’s the same advice we give adults: Reaching that goal deserves a reward. Celebrate with some of that money,” said Patricia Seaman of the National Endowment for Financial Education in Denver. “But if there are expenses that need to be covered – college tuition, textbooks or room/board – set that aside first.”

Seaman’s daughter, now a 19-year-old sophomore at a University of Wisconsin campus, dropped all her grad gift money into her savings account, then used it for college extras her parents didn’t cover: social life, meals out, etc.

It’s the thought

Regardless of how much you spend, try to make it personal to what the graduate truly wants or needs, said Pam Krueger, executive producer of MoneyTrack, the PBS financial series.

For her hard-working niece, who graduates from college in May and starts a master’s education program in Boston next fall, Krueger is buying a gift she knows will be both wanted and needed: a smartphone. It’s replacing her niece’s “old school” flip phone that’s so ancient it doesn’t have texting, Internet or even GPS.

Lastly, the best gift may be the simplest: a personal, inspiring message.

“Graduation is such a milestone moment,” said Krueger. “I still have a card from my dad that had five little words that I’ve carried with me ever since: ‘I have faith in you.’ ”

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5 Tips for Eating Healthfully at a Cookout

May 19th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

shutterstock_14504530Burgers, potato salad, sprinklers. For many Americans, Memorial Day is the beginning of warm and sunny times ahead. This weekend is also prime time for social events and backyard bashes – complete with plenty to eat. For me, summer seems to be the most challenging time to “go light” with food and maintain weight (let alone lose it, if that’s your goal) because we’re more apt to socialize, eat and drink. We all love summer parties, but they don’t have to wreak havoc on your diet. Here are a few tips to tackle a barbecue the right way:

— Fill up before you go. Go ahead, ruin your appetite before heading to the barbecue bash. You need a snack that provides satiety so you don’t show up half starved. And certainly don’t “hold out” on eating beforehand. Fasting all day in prep of a big barbecue is the worst thing you can do. You’ll slow down your metabolism and wind up overeating – a double whammy!

— Assess the situation when you arrive. Sometimes, your attitude going into the meal can make or break your barbecue experience. If you see spinach dip when you enter, you may think, “There’s nothing healthy here, and I might as well pig out.” Then you notice chicken skewers, shrimp cocktail, crudité and way more. Be patient, scope out the scene and then use what is available to create as proportioned a meal as possible.

Try to skip that first drink. When you have your first drink before you even say hello to the guests, you’re probably off to an overindulgent night. You’ll end up consuming too many calories from alcohol, and then the effects of said alcohol may inhibit your willpower and make you consume too many calories from food, too.

Fill your plate once. Take one serving of lean protein – just one! Go for barbecue chicken or fish, which are usually the leanest options. Fill the rest of your plate with other healthy foods, such as grilled vegetables, roasted corn, tomato slices and salad. Enjoy that first plate, but then stop eating and enjoy the people – not food – around you.

Host a healthy barbecue. If it’s your turn to do the hosting, serve delicious and healthy options for your guests. Instead of those heavy, saucy chicken wings, try this recipe for almond-crusted chicken skewers. Light and satisfying, these skewers are the perfect blend of sweet and savory. And unlike some traditional barbecue fare, this refreshing dish won’t leave you feeling overstuffed for the rest of the party.

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11 Major League Baseball Feats That Have Only Happened Once

May 19th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Fun
Johnny Vander Meer. Better at baseball than at being handsome in photographs.

Johnny Vander Meer. Better at baseball than at being handsome in photographs.

1. Back-to-back no hitters. Accomplished by Johnny Vander Meer, Cincinnati Reds, June 11-15, 1938. There have been 223 no hitters in MLB history (averaging out to about two per season), so it’s insane that Vander Meer was able to throw no-hitters in back-to-back starts.

Especially considering that he went on to have a lifetime W-L record of 119-121. Which was still good enough to get him into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. (No, Pete Rose can’t get into that one either. But Jose Rijo did.)

2. Grand slam on first Major League pitch. Accomplished by Kevin Kouzmanoff, Cleveland Indians, September 2, 2006. On the first pitch he ever saw, Kouzmanoff hit a grand slam of the Texas Rangers’ Edinson Volquez, en route to the Indians winning the game 6-5.

As my Cleveland Indians often do, they quickly traded Kouzmanoff to the San Diego Padres for a sack of magic beans. (Given name of said sack of magic beans: Josh Barfield.)

3. Caught stealing four times in one game. Accomplished by Robby Thompson, San Francisco Giants, June 27, 1986. It was a 12-inning game and the Giants kept sending their “fast” rookie, Thompson. And he kept getting caught. Four times.

What makes that even crazier is that, in the 149 games he played that season, he only successfully stole 12 bases (and was caught 15 times). So by late June, the Giants should’ve figured out that maybe he wasn’t the track star they thought he was.

Germany Schaefer. Stole first base.

Germany Schaefer. Stole first base.

4. Steal the same base twice in one inning?. (And three bases total… including FIRST?) Accomplished by Germany Schaefer, Detroit Tigers, September 4, 1908. This one’s going to take some ‘splainin. Until 1920, Major League Baseball had a rule that made it legal to steal bases in reverse order. If you were on second and wanted to go back to first, you could steal it. Which can, in some convoluted ways, make strategic sense.

During the September 4th, 1908, game between the Tigers and Cleveland Indians, Schaefer was on first and a teammate was on third. The Tigers wanted to do a double steal — Schaefer would break for second, and, when the Indians tried to throw him out, his teammate would steal home. But when Schaefer broke for second, the Indians’ catcher didn’t make the throw, so Schaefer stole the base without the run scoring.

That wasn’t the plan so, on the next pitch, he broke back for first… and successfully stole it without a throw. Then, on the next pitch, he broke for second AGAIN, to try to make the double steal work… but again, the Indians didn’t throw.

That makes him the only player in MLB history to steal the same base twice in one inning. (And one of only two players to ever steal first base from second.)

5. Two triple plays in one game. Accomplished by the Minnesota Twins, July 17th, 1990. This could also be expanded to the only team ever to turn two triple plays in one game… AND LOSE.

The Red Sox hit into two triple plays (one in the fourth, one in the eighth) but still beat the Twins, 1-0.

6. Back-to-back homers by the same two teammates in one inning. Accomplished by Mike Cameron and Bret Boone, Seattle Mariners, May 2, 2002. In the first inning of the Mariners versus White Sox, Cameron and Boone hit back-to-back home runs. Seattle batted around… and, in the same inning, Cameron and Boone went back-to-back again.

Cameron went on to hit four homers in the game (that’s one of those lame “feats” that tons of people have done) and the Mariners won 15-4.

Really stumped the Indians that day.

Really stumped the Indians that day.

7. Pitcher with fewest hands (1) throwing a no-hitter. Accomplished by Jim Abbott, September 4, 1993. Jim Abbott didn’t have a right hand. He no-hit the Cleveland Indians in 1993.

As an Indians fan, I remember watching that game… and kinda hoping Abbott would get it. After all, who isn’t a sucker for stories like this?

I also remember, late in the game, Kenny Lofton trying to bunt his way on and the fans booing. I think it took me until about 2008 to realize that even though Albert Belle was one of the biggest dicks in sports history, Kenny Lofton was kinda a dick too.

8. Triple play without the bat touching a ball. Accomplished by the Seattle Mariners, September 2, 2008. This one’s very convoluted, which makes it wonderful. In a Mariners-Rays game, Raul Ibanez of the Mariners got called out on strikes. Meanwhile Adrian Beltre was trying to steal second, and was thrown out. While he was getting thrown out, Jose Lopez tried to score from third and got thrown out at home plate.

Crazily enough, there’s also, theoretically, a way for a team to hit into a triple play without the fielder touching a ball. If there are runners on first and second with no outs, the batter needs to hit a catchable infield pop fly. He’d be out number one for the infield fly rule. The runner on first would have to pass the runner on second, making him out number two. And finally, the runner on second would have to get hit by the ball as it lands for the third out. That’s never happened in baseball history, though.

Toby Harrah -- records for fielding, inside-the-park home runs AND being the most stereotypical '70s-looking baseball player ever.

Toby Harrah — records for fielding, inside-the-park home runs AND being the most stereotypical ’70s-looking baseball player ever.

9. One player sets two crazy one-time-only feats. Accomplished by Toby Harrah, Texas Rangers, 1976-77. These were both great one-time-only feats… then I saw they were both accomplished by the same player… and made the executive decision that his accomplishing of two one-time-only feats was, in and of itself, an 11 Points-worthy one-time-only feat.

On June 25, 1976, Harrah became the only shortstop ever to play every inning of a doubleheader and not get a single ball hit to him. Then, one year later, on August 27, 1977, Harrah and his Rangers teammate Bump Wills became the only players ever to hit back-to-back inside-the-park home runs.

10. 2 grand slams in an inning. Accomplished by Fernando Tatis, St. Louis Cardinals, April 23, 1999. In the Cardinals-Dodgers game, Tatis hit two grand slams in the third inning — both off of the same pitcher, Chan Ho Park. No player has ever hit two in one inning before or since; and no player has ever matched Tatis’s eight RBIs in one inning either.

Tatis was batting behind Mark McGwire that game (and that was during the McGwire SMASH! era). Those were Tatis’s only two hits for the game, which the Cardinals won 12-5.

11. Player goes from a hat size of 7.5 to 16 over the course of a career. Accomplished by Barry Bonds, 1986 – 2007. Barry started his career as a talented, thin, second-generation stud prospect. He ended it with a bigger head than the kid in “So I Married an Axe Murderer”. And that kid’s head looked like an orange on a toothpick.

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