Big Ed Delahanty was a feared slugger in baseball’s deadball era of the early 20th century. He was the only player to ever win the batting titles in both leagues. He was the only player to hit four home runs in one game and four doubles in another. He hit over .400 three times, his batting average ranked fifth highest in major league history and he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945.
In the summer of 1903 however, the Washington Senators suspended their star slugger for missing a game. Delahanty had been upset because a potential deal with the New York Giants of the National League had been nixed when the two leagues entered a peace pact to stop players from jumping leagues. Delahanty had been hoping for a $500 raise on the $4000 annual salary he received from the miserly Washington club.
On July 2, 1903 a depressed Big Ed, 35, boarded a Detroit train bound for New York. His marriage was falling apart due to his gambling and drinking. Five shots of whiskey later, he was kicked off the train for brandishing a razor at passengers. He was on the Canadian side of the border, across the bridge from Buffalo. The conductor pointed the way … but Big Ed never made it. His body was found six days later beneath the falls.
Boasting seven daily publications, there was newspaper war in Buffalo. Reporters scrambled over each other for the best lead. Was Big Ed’s death an accident? Suicide? Murder? Night watchman Sam Kingston was the only witness … and his story changed.
Belisle fills in the blanks that fateful night on the International Bridge when baseball tragically lost one of its best.
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About the Author
Dave Belisle is a Vietnam War draft dodger ... his mother escorting him north of the border at the tender age of 8. He's returned to Calgary -- not as a Stampede side show -- but to transform that Rocky Mountain air into raucous laughter ... give or take a foothill. There's no armistice on anecdotes, no flat tire in satire ... and your busted funny bone IS covered by Canadian health care.