When baseball's believers gather for services they are in a sense assembled on the slope of a volcano. For a time it is very, very peaceful, and then suddenly it is very, very hot. No sporting religion would long be popular if it consisted only of ritual commands ("Stick it in his ear," "Hit it oudda here" and the like) and the stylized choreography of the pitcher-batter tableau. The seats would be empty if every batted ball went over the fence or into the glove of a perfectly positioned fielder. But happily, sooner or later the game erupts in urgent activity: acrobatic leaps and slides, sizzling throws, breakneck base running, nose-to-nose umpire castigating. The following pages offer a sampler of this eruptive side. To your right, Boston's Doug Griffin goes up for an off-target throw, and he won't be down in time to prevent Oakland's Bert Campaneris from stealing second. Turn the page for views of Cincinnati's Joe Morgan and Pittsburgh's Dave Cash giving their all.
A camouflaging cloud of dust envelops a mystery runner sliding beneath San Diego's Pat Corrales, and voices rise in classic managerial choler from (left to right) Gene Mauch, Earl Weaver, Billy Martin, Yogi Berra and Bill Virdon.
Digging out toward first base, the Yankees' Bobby Murcer fights for balance. Below, the Cubs' Rick Monday takes exception to a tag at the plate by Pat Corrales—and fights.