After their first trip to the state penitentiary in 1965, the Texacos had a standing invitation to play annually and continued for six seasons. The run ended with a week-long riot in 1972, and the team never went back.
Overall, the Texacos won three of the games and lost twice. The 1970 game rained out with the score tied at 2-2.
The accompanying photo was taken by former Virginia State Police trooper Charlie Gibbs, who was in charge of the penitentiary security at the time. Visitors were not allowed to take cameras into the facility.
Taken during the 1971 contest, this photo shows Texacos Joe Hedley getting set to swing at a fast one. I’m the third base coach. Standing directly behind me is the inmate-umpire, who had attended Lancaster High School with me. He had one call for the entire game, and blew that.
The crowd that day was estimated well over 1,000 spectators. The always talented inmates won, 10-4.
Carroll Lee Ashburn is the author of Tales of the Legendary Texacos, coach and founder of the Texacos, president of the Kilmarnock Museum and lifelong community promoter.