From the start of baseball’s World Series and Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean to the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and people dressed as pandas, TIME presents the best images of the week.
On Aug. 20, Will Lucas, a lanky righty from Fairfield, Conn., pitched a no-hitter in the Little League World Series. link pyramid . His performance was the opening highlightthe leadon ESPNs SportsCenter the next morning. Thats a lot of pressure to put on a bunch of prepubescent ballplayers, a few with voices higher than an Albert Pujols homer. Are we such a sports-obsessed society that well devour the sporting thrills and heartbreak of children just to hold us over until football season?
But try telling the 11-year-olds from impoverished Lugazi, Uganda, who play in bare feet at home, why they shouldnt be on television. Theyll just keep smiling and having the time of their lives in Williamsport, Pa., host since 1947 to the seriesa 10-day tournament featuring eight teams from across the U.S. and eight international teams from places like Mexico, Curaao, Japan and Panama.
Plus, the kids give better interviews than the pros. After Lucas hurled his no-no, an ESPN reporter asked a typical postgame question: How did it feel to be on the bottom of a celebratory dog pile? Its exciting, Lucas said. But then at the end, it really hurts. Sharp, and funny. Can we call him up to the big leagues?
Sean Gregory is a staff writer atTIME.
Wayne Lawrence is a Brooklyn-based photographer. See more of his work here.
Neil Leifer’s 1965 photograph of Muhammad Ali hovering over a knocked-out Sonny Liston may be the most famous sports shot of all time, but you will not find it at “The Sports Show,” a photography and new-media exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Nor will you find a single picture of the most famous athlete of the past 15 years, Tiger Woods, or of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team celebrating its miracle win, or of American soccer player Brandi Chastain ripping off her shirt after clinching the 1999 World Cup. Can you really mount a worthwhile retrospective of sports photography without these iconic athletes and moments? Turns out you can. In fact, “The Sports Show” (on view through May 13) is better off for it.
When I checked out the exhibit on opening day, I expected a greatest-hits compendium of sports images. But curator David Little took a more surprising approach, choosing photographs that offer more social commentary than celebration. For example, the circa-1899 portrait of female high school students playing basketball in dresses sends the message that women, too, could participate in emerging sports. (The picture was taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston, whom LIFE magazine once called “the closest thing to an official court photographer the United States has ever had.”) More than a century later, that message continues to resonate: Title IX has delivered athletic opportunities to millions of girls, but female athletes still fight for the same opportunities and recognition that boys get.
The exhibit casts a skeptical eye on the emotional energy we expend on sports. In 1970 photographer Tod Papageorge toured the country capturing fans at big events like the Iron Bowl (the Alabama-vs.-Auburn college-football rivalry) and opening day at Yankee Stadium. Some people in the crowd are goofing off, but many others appear pensive. The photographs invite the viewer to wonder what the spectators are thinking and feeling. Is their favorite team losing? Or are real-life stresses still on their minds? Papageorge bitingly called this project—a portion of which is on display in Minneapolis—American Sports, 1970, or How We Spent the War in Vietnam.
The Sports Show is on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts now through May 13.
MORE: Check out TIME.com’s new sports blog: Keeping Score.
During his 38 years of snapping elegant, action-packed baseball pictures, Charles Conlon was the singular figure who captured the early years of modern baseball; from 1904 to 1942, he was the sport’s de facto official photographer. And with the recent release of The Big Show: Charles M. Conlon’s Golden Age Baseball Photographs, some freshly discovered shots are being added to the Conlon canon. The compendium, published by Abrams Books in September, is a fitting follow up to Baseball’s Golden Age, Conlon’s 1993 book of the photographer’s images, which was also being re-released last month.
Conlon wasn’t raised with a camera in his hand. At the turn of the century, he was a newspaper proofreader, toiling for the New York Evening Telegram. That paper’s sports editor, John Foster, was also the assistant editor of the annual Spalding Baseball Guide. This book was not only a promotional publication for the sporting goods company, but, in the words of famed New Yorker baseball writer Roger Angell, “indispensable to any true fan.” As Angell writes in the foreward to Baseball’s Golden Age, “these pocket-size baseball compendiums contained the most up-to-date rules of the game, complete statistics and detailed summaries of the previous season, scheduling for the upcoming season, essays, editorials, and hundreds of photographs.”
Foster knew Conlon had a hobby: photography. So he asked Conlon if he’d put it to use, in his spare time, for the Guide. Over the next four decades, Conlon took some of the most iconic shots in baseball history. An unforgettable close-up of Babe Ruth, a young DiMaggio taking a swing, and Ty Cobb sliding into third base — his teeth-clenched, dirt flying in the air — are among his greatest hits.
It’s memorable images like these that appear in The Big Show, which features a surprising shot of Ruth in a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform – he was a coach for the team in 1938. Elsewhere, the 1917 Philadelphia Athletics are seen taking military instruction—the American League president wanted to show that his teams were taking part in the war effort, and portraits of Hall of Famers DiMaggio, Christy Mathewson, Connie Mack, Phil Rizzuto, Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker and Lou Gehrig are also included in this collection.
While Conlon loved the ballpark, his gig was risky. “Aside from countless narrow escapes, I was seriously injured twice,” he says in the ’93 book. “On one occasion, less than half an hour after I had assisted in caring for a brother photographer who was hit in the head by a batted ball, a vicious line drive down the first base line caught me just above the ankle, and I was unable to walk for a couple of weeks.” A second baseman for the New York Giants, Larry Doyle, had a habit of tossing his bat, which sent the shutterbugs ducking. “[Giants manager John] McGraw saw me get a close shave on day from a Doyle bat,” Conlon said, “and ordered Larry to tie the stick to his wrist with a thong.”
Sean Gregory is a staff writer at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @seanmgregory.