For Joseph Seng and the other death row inmates in the line-up for the Wyoming State Penitentiary All Stars, baseball was literally a game of life or death. Based on primary source documents, some unearthed at the old prison itself, Playing for Time recreates the compelling story of this team of hardened criminals who excelled at a civilized game to become amateur sports heroes, and of the key player who led them to many victories.
The year was 1878. Future legends of the Old West–lawmen Charlie Bassett, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and Bill Tilghman–patrolled the unruly streets of Dodge City, Kansas, then known as “the wickedest little city in America.”
When a cattle baron fled town after allegedly shooting the popular dancehall girl Dora Hand, these four men–all sharpshooters who knew the surrounding harsh, desertlike terrain–hunted him down, it was said, like “thunder over the prairie.” The posse’s legendary ride across the desolate landscape to seek justice influenced the men’s friendship, careers, and feelings about the justice system. This account of that event is a fast-paced, unforgettable glimpse into the Old West.