Coming up with the 1888 Philadelphia Quakers, Delahanty was a part-time player until he jumped to the Cleveland Infants of the short-lived Player’s League in 1890. When he returned to Philadelphia the following year he had one more mediocre season before he put it all together for the first time in 1892, leading the league in slugging and triples. After that, he never hit below .323 and three times topped .400. His 1893 season was particularly impressive, with 146 RBIs and 19 home runs during the heart of the Dead Ball era. Two-time batting champion and five-time slugging leader, he also had impressive speed, leading the league in steals in 1898 at the age of thirty.
Delahanty is one of the Hall’s more tragic deaths. Drunk and disorderly, he was ejected from a train crossing the International Railway Bridge over the Niagara River in 1903. After a scuffle with a security guard, Delahanty either jumped or fell into the river. His body was discovered at the base of the famous Falls a week later.
August 8, 2011