Ed Delahanty was one of five Delahanty brothers to play major league baseball
. Ed was the oldest brother, and the only one to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame
He was born on October 30th, 1867, in Cleveland, Ohio, and made his major league debut in 1888 as a second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies. In 1890, Delahanty jumped to the Players' League, and spent a season at shortstop for that league's Cleveland entry. When the Players' League folded after the 1890 season, Delahanty returned to Philadelphia. He was moved to the outfield, and quickly became one of the league's most feared hitters.
In 1892, Delahanty led the National League in slugging percentage, batted .306, and drove in 91 runs. In 1893, he led the league in home runs (19), runs batted in (146), and slugging percentage, while batting .368. Delahanty batted .400 twice, in 1894 and 1899, when he led the league at a .408 clip.
For his career, Delahanty led the NL in batting once, in home runs once, and in runs batted in three times. He also led the league in hits (once), doubles (four times), triples (once), and slugging percentage (five times).
His career batting average of .345 is the fourth-highest in baseball history. He was also an excellent baserunner, stealing 456 career bases.
In 1902, Delahanty signed with the Washington Senators of the new American League. In his first season, he led the AL in batting at .376, but the Senators finished 22 games out of first place. Early in the 1903 season, Delahanty, tired of the Senators' losing ways, asked for his release so he could join the New York Giants.
The Senators would not release him, so he simply left the club on a road trip to Detroit and bought a train ticket back to New York. Delahanty was put off of the train in Fort Erie, Ontario, (directly across from Niagara Falls), after becoming drunk and threatening passengers on the train with an open razor. Delahanty decided to walk across the railroad drawbridge over the Niagara River, but as he was walking across, the bridge opened for a passing ship, and Delahanty fell to his death.
He was posthumously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.
None of Delahanty's brothers approached his success, though Jim Delahanty played second base for 13 years in the majors and retired with a lifetime average of .283.
Joseph Reichler, editor: The Baseball Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Macmillan Publishing, New York, 1985.
Daniel Okrent and Steve Wulf. Baseball Anecdotes. Oxford Press, New York, 1989.