An Inclusive Litany

10/22/98

When it appeared likely that Mark McGuire would break Roger Maris's season home run record, baseball fans began to speculate how much the record-breaking sixty-second ball would be worth to whomever caught it, many estimating its value at $1 million. A consensus emerged that the lucky fan should give the ball back to McGuire, who earned it, but tax experts noted that the fan would be subject to $145,000 in "gift taxes."

It was only when Congress moved to pass a special dispensation for the lucky fielder that the Internal Revenue Service issued a statement promising that it would not go after the fan. The stadium staffer who did catch the ball instantly returned it as expected, telling reporters, "I just don't want to be taxed."

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