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Life-Threatening Motivation – Baseball for Life

  • Hars punishments in Rawlins
  • The prison team from death row
  • Lengthen their lives with a year
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If you think that motivation by humiliation in sports is ethically questionable you are not going to love this story. In 1910 there was a baseball team in the state prison of Rawlins, where the prison’s baseball team consisted of people on the death row. They got motivated to win the matches indeed. They knew, that if they lose the game, they lose their lives. This life-threatening motivation proved to be working. Today it seems that motivation is done by rewarding, however, online sportsbooks news sites in the UK are telling that sportsmen can be under tremendous pressure.

Around the turn of the century, Wyoming wasn’t the most guest welcoming place. Since it’s very close to the west, many of the infamous criminals of the wild-west visited the place. To keep order, the penalties were pretty high for any kind of outlaws.

The harsh circumstances of the Wild-West

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Parrot Made a nice pair of shoes. See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The territory was an everyday scene for the fights between cattle and lamb farmers. Rawlins was outstanding with its cruel state of the art. While others were only hanging someone for pretty much everything, in Rawlins they also did flaying. A local barbershop, for instance, was keeping a pair of shoes in their show-window, made by the skin of George Parrott. Parrott was a cattle rustler and a highwayman who at the time, was waiting to be hunged up in Rawlins’ prison.

Lead by life-threatening motivation he tried to escape but he failed. However, angry townspeople “rescued” him from his cell and hanged him on a telegraph pole. Following the lynching of Parrott, his body was sent to doctor Thomas Magee to study the criminal brain. His skull was used as an ashtray and the shoe they made out of his skin was worn by the first Democratic Governor of the State Wyoming at his inaugural ball.

The state prison of Rawlins – Life-threatening motivation

Things got a bit better for criminals at the time when Rawlins got its stationary prison in 1901. The first director of the prison was a millionaire Otto Gramm. Gramm basically was using the prisoners as free labor power. He was giving enough food to survive but prisoners were basically starving. By 1911 he was making  250 thousand USD profit on running the jail. The state of Wyoming realized this kind of abuse and appointed a new director for the jail.

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The state prison of Rawlins. National Archives at College Park [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The new director was Felix Alston county sheriff. Alston let the prisoners out sometimes to build roads, which was a big improvement indeed. He also made a baseball team that is morally questionable, but still the better option comparing to Gramm. The baseball team consisted of twelve prisoners condemned to death. The deal was simple. As long as they win their sentence is postponed.

The Life-Threatening motivation of the “dream” team

The team consisted of Jack Carter, who shot a hermit to death then cut his body up and burnt his remains. William Boyer who stabbed his father to death or George Saban who killed three shepherds during the last murderous sheep raid. Besides them, there were rapists, thieves, and crooks as well.

The infamous team was very popular, everybody was looking forward to their games.  Not only because of the composition of the team but also there was a possibility of gambling. The team between 1911 and 1912 played 45 games and was winning 39 of them. During these games, people were making bets in an estimated value of 132.000USD, counting with inflation that makes 3.5million USD today. George Saban was a big help in this. Since there were many cattle farmers in the city, politicians and jailers favorized Saban for killing the shepherds.  Alston was arresting Saban, at the time when he was a sheriff and they were best friends. Saban was often let out of prison to go home and used this time to talk about the baseball team and make them a “bookies favorite”.

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This was their destiny. Image by Michaela Wenzler from Pixabay

It could not go on forever

While the team became more and more famous as time passed, eventually they run out of luck. Life-threatening motivation seemed to be working. While townsfolk started to make petitions to set the prisoners of the team free, the families of the ones who were raped or murdered were not so happy about this whole thing. Alstone listened to the families of the deceased ones and on May 24, 1912, they finally executed Joseph Seng the star of the team. Short after his death, the team was dismissed. The only survivor of the team was George Saban who escaped and was never to be found again. If you like baseball you can bet on your favorites through online sportsbooks in the UK, for example, try 1xbet.com.

 

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