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76. A Day in the Bleachers

About the Images and the Artist

The Catch shows Willie Mays as a small figure, a solitary player deep in center field with the ball descending over his head in a vast ballpark. The stands and bleachers are packed with people. The grass is green; the sky is blue; fluttering bunting and flags indicate a breeze. For all the drama of the athletic feat, crucial to the outcome of the game, it is the Polo Grounds, a character unto itself in the book, that dominates the picture. This image has been reproduced at larger scale as an extra print to accompany ten percent of the books in the limited edition.

The fourteen original paintings by Ulriksen are available for sale. Prices on request.

In order of appearance. View gallery of images.

  1. The Polo Grounds (double spread). The site of the contest, before the game, with fans lining up for bleacher seats.
  2. Maglie arrives (single page). The pitcher for the Giants enters the field in street clothes and acknowledges the fans.
  3. Mays takes fielding practice (double spread). Willie shows off his throwing arm.
  4. Perry Como's National Anthem (single page). The crooner sings before the game begins.
  5. Mueller battles Lemon (triple spread). The Indians' pitcher in a duel with the Giants' left-fielder in the first inning.
  6. Lockman leaps, Westrum scrambles, Wertz takes off  (single page). The Giants' first baseman and catcher struggle as the Indians' first baseman advances in the top of the sixth inning.
  7. 7th Inning StretchSeventh-inning stretch (single page). The author is joined by some who were not in the bleachers that day: his wife, the artist, and the publisher (see if you can identify them).
  8. Mays batting (single page). One of the greatest players of all time at the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning.
  9. Rosen runs, Dark bobbles, Doby slides (double spread). The Cleveland third baseman and center fielder are on the move as the Giants' shortstop stops the ball with his bare hand in the top of the eighth inning.
  10. Maglie departs (single page). The Giants' starting pitcher is applauded as he is replaced in the eighth inning.
  11. The Catch (quadruple spread). The most famous catch by Willie Mays, of a ball hit by Vic Wertz in the eighth inning. This is a double fold-out in full color.
  12. Hano hopes (single page). In the bottom of the ninth inning the Giants' shortstop hits a long ball that, despite the encouragement of the author, is caught.
  13. Pope leaps in vain (double spread). In the tenth inning, Dusty Rhodes, a pinch hitter for the Giants, hits a home run that the Indians' right fielder cannot catch, scoring three runs and winning the game.
  14. Victory and defeat (single page). An ebullient Giants fan waves his Polo Grounds ticket as a disconsolate Indians fan holds his head. Bonnie Hano reappears. The bleachers empty.

(A bonus illustration, a sliver of the center of center field, may be discovered between the last page of Chapter 11 and the opening page of Chapter 12.)

Pope leaps in vain

Mark Ulriksen was born in 1957 in San Francisco and has followed baseball since childhood. He served as an art director for San Francisco magazine from 1986 until 1993, when he began devoting himself solely to painting and illustration.  He worked as a graphic designer and art director after graduating from California State University, Chico, and studying at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is the recipient of a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, among many honors and awards. He has created covers for magazines including The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, Time, and Newsweek. Ulriksen’s books for children include Dog Show and The Biggest Parade.

Readers of the New Yorker will have seen sports pictures by Ulriksen, including a portrait of San Francisco's new baseball stadium when it opened in 2001. More recently, Ulriksen has caused merriment and consternation with his covers satirizing the administration in Washington.

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