THE BASES ARE LOADED, TWO MEN ARE OUT AND THE COUNT ON THE BATTER IS FULL—THREE BALLS AND TWO STRIKES. TO ARTIST BERNIE FUCHS, THIS IS BASEBALL'S MOST DRAMATIC MOMENT, AND HE RECORDS HIS IMPRESSIONS OF IT, OBSERVED IN SEVERAL GAMES, ON THE FOLLOWING PAGES. AS AN OUTFIELDER CROUCHES IN READINESS (RIGHT), THE MOMENT IS TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED, WHEN OUT FROM THE DUGOUT HUSTLES THE MANAGER (NEXT PAGE) FOR A BRIEF, WORRIED WORD WITH HIS PITCHER AND CATCHER. AFTER HE LEAVES, THE PITCHER FINGERS THE RESIN BAG, TUGS AT HIS CAP AND LOOKS TO THE CATCHER FOR THE SIGN. THIS IS HABIT; THE PITCH—CURVE, SLIDER OR FAST BALL—HAS BEEN SETTLED WITH THE MANAGER. THE PITCHER STRETCHES, AND THE MOMENT MOVES TOWARD DECISION.

THE ARTIST'S MONTAGE CONTINUES (LEFT) AS ONE BATTER AWAITS THE PITCH. A MOMENT LATER, WITH ALL THREE RUNNERS MOVING, ANOTHER BATTER IN THE SAME SITUATION SWINGS AND DRIVES THE BALL DEEP. THE OUTFIELDER RACES TO THE BARRIER (NEXT PAGE) AND LEAPS. THE FINAL ACT—A HOME RUN OR THE LAST OUT—IS AN INSTANT AWAY.

FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)