One of seven brothers from Cleveland, five of whom played ML baseball, Ed Delahanty was a premier 19th-century slugger. The 6’1″ 190-lb righthander made his pro debut in 1887 with Mansfield of the Ohio State League, batting .355. The next year, he was at .408 after 21 games with Wheeling of the Tri-State League when the Phillies bought his contract for $1,500. He arrived in Philadelphia in time to play 74 games, mostly at second base, but hit only .228.
He jumped to the Players’ League in 1890, but returned to the Phillies the next year. After a .306 year in 1892 with a league-leading 21 triples, he blossomed in 1893, narrowly missing the triple crown (.368, 19 HR, 146 RBI). The next year he hit .400, but he needed .408 in 1899 to win his first batting title. Delahanty collected six-hit games in 1890 and ’94 and had ten consecutive hits in 1897. His four doubles in one game tied the record in 1899, and on July 13, 1896 he hit four home runs – the second man to do so – and a single in a losing cause at Chicago.
After switching to the new AL, he won a second batting title with the Senators (.376) in 1902. He also led in slugging average, a feat he’d accomplished three times in the NL. His disdain for training rules got him suspended in June 1903, and he left his club in Detroit to take a train to New York. At International Bridge near Niagara Falls, the conductor put him off the train for being drunk and disorderly. Staggering along the tracks in the dark, he fell through an open drawbridge and was swept over the falls to his death.