Baseball is man racing against a ball. It is a swift base runner scoring from first on a double, his desperate slide barely beating the shortstop's frenzied relay. It is an outfielder sprinting back toward the fence, overtaking a long drive. But, as the pictures on the following pages indicate, the race involves more than pure speed. There is also the final effort—a lunge, a dive, a stretch—that may, in saving a fraction of time, provide the difference between a victory and a defeat.
Two fielders converge on a bouncing ball over second. One makes a lunging barehand stop as the other swerves to escape a collision.
Charging a topped ground ball, the third baseman, without breaking stride, throws to first base.
The runner grimaces from the effort of his race, but the ball, aided by that graceful stretch, has won.
The runner, in haste to reach third, slides past it; the third baseman dives after him and, apparently, makes the put-out. However, the umpire, standing over them, disagrees.
The on-deck man signals the runner to slide, and he does, hooking the plate with his toe. The umpire starts to call him out, unaware that the catcher has dropped the ball.
The outfielder charges a sinking liner and, gambling, tries to make a diving catch. But he misses and tumbles, and now the ball is by him, rolling all the way to the wall for a sure triple.