Ocala Star Banner – More Ma Barker: Family stories highlight local interactions


Most would agree that pulling a prank on a notorious gangster isn’t a wise move. And, in retrospect, Roy Abshier figures his father would have agreed, as well. But that didn’t stop Alfred Abshier and his buddies in 1934, when they tossed an owl into a tent where T.C. Blackburn slept on a deer hunting trip in the Ocala National Forest.

“He about tore the tent down,” Roy Abshier recalled, remembering the story his father told him years ago. “It was a joke … everyone had a big laugh over it.”

It wasn’t until later that Alfred Abshier, along with the rest of Ocklawaha, learned that Blackburn and his mother weren’t the sort of visitors they made themselves out to be.

Read more here: http://www.ocala.com/news/20160807/more-ma-barker-family-stories-highlight-local-interactions

The Daily Beast – The Season’s Best Baseball Books


You couldn’t make this up—a baseball team made up of convicted felons competing to reduce their sentences. The Wyoming State Penitentiary All Stars had a 12-man roster that included three rapists, a forger, five thieves, and three killers. They played their first game in the summer of 1912. Winning meant time off their sentences, individual errors that led to a loss meant a death sentence…

Read more here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/12/the-season-s-best-baseball-books.html

The New York Post – The death-row inmates forced to play baseball for their lives

nypost On a hot summer day in baseball-mad Rawlins, Wyoming in 1911, a tightly-packed crowd watched pitcher Thomas Cameron rear back and hurl a fastball toward home plate. The ball went wild, clipping the opposing player on the left shoulder before bouncing into the stands, allowing him to take first base.

Cameron was dying on the mound. In more ways than one…

Read more here: http://nypost.com/2014/09/14/the-death-row-inmates-who-were-forced-to-play-baseball-for-their-lives/

The Sacramento Bee – Between the Lines: ‘Death Row All Stars’ debuts at Raley Field event

It’s not often that a national book launch takes place at a baseball stadium, but one is coming to Raley Field.

Grass Valley nonfiction Western writer Chris Enss and co-author Howard Kazanjian tell a remarkable, little-known and scandalous story in “Death Row All Stars: A Story of Baseball, Corruption, and Murder” (Globe Pequot, $17, 176 pages). The two will be at Raley Field for a meet ’n’ greet and book-signing from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, before the Sacramento River Cats take on the Reno Aces at 7:05 p.m.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/08/26/6653033/between-the-lines-death-row-all.html

Sacbee Gallery – At home with Chris Enss

Appropriately, the road to writer Chris Enss’ home on the outskirts of Grass Valley takes a visitor along the Overland Emigrant Trail, past Ponderosa Pines Way and Lone Star Road, and on two streets named after rattlesnakes.

Parked in the three-car garage of the 3,000-square-foot-plus house is her ride – a Ford pickup truck. Enss is a screenwriter and author of 27 nonfiction Westerns about the unheralded folks who lived, loved and died in the Old West – mail-order brides, prospectors, nurses, entertainers, soldiers. She writes mostly about pioneering women, both the innocent (“Frontier Teachers,” “The Doctor Wore Petticoats”) and the not-so-much (“Bedside Book of Bad Girls,” “Pistol Packin’ Madams”).

She also has written books about some of the Old West’s folk heroes – William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Annie Oakley, Gen. George Custer – and less genuine but more recent Western-centric icons – Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, John Wayne. “I’m an observer of history who retells what is there,” she said modestly.

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What History Has Taught Me: True West Magazine

What History Has Taught Me

by Chris Enss

Tiger Woods and Buffalo Bill Cody are men who thought monogamy was a type of wood.  They were legendary talents with flaws who were eager to entertain the numerous women who threw themselves at the men, regardless of the fact that they were married.

Elizabeth Custer’s extramarital affairs were emotional entanglements and not sexual.

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