Ed Delahanty (October 30, 1867 - July 2, 1903) was a Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player from 1888 to 1903.
A Cleveland, Ohio native nicknamed "Big Ed", Delahanty was a first baseman and powerful righthanded batter in the 1890s. He was also the most prominent member of the largest group of siblings ever to play in the major leagues: brothers Frank, Jim, Joe and Tom also spent time in the majors.
Ed Delahanty began his career on May 22, 1888, with the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League, playing 74 games that season with an uncharacteristically low .228 average, 1 HR, and 31 RBI. The next year, in 56 games, he raised his average to .293. In 1890 he jumped to the Player's League, but returned to the Phillies the next year when that league folded. After a healthy .306, 6 HR, 91 RBI season in 1892, Delahanty blossomed in 1893 with .368, 19 HR and 146 RBI, narrowly missing the Triple Crown (the great hitters Billy Hamilton and Sam Thompson led the league in batting with .380 and .370 respectively).
Between 1894-96 Delahanty continued terrorizing the league, with astonishing batting marks: .407, 4 HR, 131 RBI; .404, 11 HR, 106 RBI; .397, 13 HR, 126 RBI; and despite his high .407 in 1897, the champion bat belonged to Hugh Duffy with an amazing .440. The 1894 Phillies outfield featuring Delahanty was probably the most amazing collection of hitters assembled, with all four players averaging over .400. Delahanty won his first batting title in 1899 with a .410 batting average, adding nine homers and 137 RBI.
On July 13, 1896, Delahanty batted four home runs in a game, being only the second player to do so (Bobby Lowe was the first in 1894) and the only player ever to do so with four inside-the-park homers. Later, in 1899, he batted four doubles in the same game. He remains the only man with a four-homer game to his credit to also have a game in which he hit four doubles. The same year Delahanty collected hits in 10 consecutive at bats, and in the 1890 and '94 seasons, he tallied six-hit games. After switching to the new American League in 1902, playing for the Washington Senators, Delahanty won his second batting title with a .376 mark. As of the end of the 2005 season, he is the only man to win a batting title in both major leagues.
In his 16 seasons with Philadelphia, Cleveland and Washington, Delahanty batted .346, with 101 HRs and 1464 RBI, 522 doubles, 185 triples and 455 stolen bases. He also led the league in slugging average and runs batted in three times each, and batted over .400 three times. In the years since, Rogers Hornsby has been the only 3-time .400-hitter in the National League (1922, 1924-25).
The greatest natural hitter of his time, Ed Delahanty died tragically when he was swept over Niagara Falls at the age of 35. Apparantly, he was kicked off a train, by the train's conductor, for being drunk and disorderly. The conductor said Delahanty was brandishing a straight razor and threatening passengers. After being kicked off the train, Delananty started his way across the International Bridge (near Niagara Falls) and fell or jumped off the bridge (some accounts say Ed was yelling about death that night). Whether 'Big Ed' died from his plunge over the Falls, or drowned on the way to the Falls is uncertain.
He was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.
Preceded by: Tip O'Neill Single season doubles record holders 1899 - 1922 Succeeded by: Tris Speaker Preceded by: Bobby Lowe Batters with 4 home runs in one game July 13, 1896 Succeeded by: Lou Gehrig