What’s a sixteen-year-old boy to do when he learns that his stepmother and a local judge have murdered his father and now plan to kill him, too? Well, when it’s 1906, and you can play pretty good second base, you join a barn-storming baseball team making its way across Kansas. It also helps that the team is the Kansas City National Bloomer Girls. After all, who’d look for a runaway boy disguised as a girl on a women’s team that competes against town-ball teams of male players?
Of course, it’ll take more than long hair, a Spalding glove, and a quick bat to stay alive.Luckily, another Bloomer Girl, Buckskin Compton, alias Dolly Madison, is on the dodge after some shootings and beatings in Wyoming — and he takes the kid under his tutelage.
Staying alive won’t prove easy for either of the reluctant female impersonators as they deal with a budding romance, hitting slumps, a crooked manager, bean balls, drunken teammates, bank robbers, lousy umpires, a revolution for women’s rights, and a rapidly changing Western frontier. Baseball isn’t always fun and games — especially when one bad play might leave the both of you cut from the Bloomer Girls or just plain dead.
In a novel very loosely based on fact (Bloomer Girls teams of mostly women players did barnstorm across the country in the early 1900s), eight-time Spur Award winner Johnny D. Boggs blends America’s pastime with the American frontier. This episodic, tongue-in-cheek adventure showcases what made, and still makes, America and the Wild, Wild West great: Strong heroes. Stronger women. And a good, clean game.