The Death Row Baseball Team and Other Odd Episodes in History

A college baeball team in 1910. University of Chicago Archives

39. From the Baseball Diamond to Death Row Was Not That Far

In the early twentieth century, baseball was the game in America, and just about everybody who was into sports and athletics played or watched or did both. Back then, many players associated with the professional clubs, majors, minors, or semi-pros, had reputations as hooligans, ruffians, or worse… death row inmates.

So as a simple matter of statistics, there was a steady infusion of professional baseball players who ended up behind bars for offenses minor or serious. Of the serious offenses, some were serious enough to land some pretty decent players on death row. Wyoming’s State Penitentiary in Rawlins had a warden, Felix Alston, who was a big time baseball lover. So he decided to make use of the available talent to form a team, which came to be known as Alston’s All Stars – including death row inmates.