December 8, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
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THT's latest e-bookThird Base: The Crossroads is THT's new e-book, available for $3.99 from the Kindle store. The good news is that anyone can read a Kindle book, even on a PC. So enjoy the best from THT in a new format.
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Saturday, January 05, 2013
40,000 days ago, baseball had one of its most horrible moments. It wasn’t an in-game issue but an off-the-field death.
The date was July 2, 1903. You may have heard of that date because it’s the title of a book, a book about the death of turn-of-the-century star Ed Delahanty.
In his prime, Big Ed Delahanty was one of the game’s greatest sluggers. He led the league in homers twice, RBIs thrice, and doubles five times. He could also hit, with a batting title and multiple .400 seasons.
In 1903, he was still an excellent hitter, but at age 35 he was into his decline. To that point in the season, Delahanty had just one homer in 42 games, though with a .330 average.
He also had financial troubles. A few weeks earlier, he tried to sell some of his teammates' jewelry and diamonds to a dealer in Washington, D.C. Yeah, that’s a sign you have some serious financial problems—and moral problems, too.
Delahanty’s slide continued. He felt depressed and talked of suicide. He went on a drinking spree. Suffering alcohol-induced delirium, he pulled out a large knife and threatened to kill himself.
That was all in late June. At the end of the month, the club made him sign a will-be-good pledge. They were still giving him a chance, but he was running out of them.
However, on July 1, just one day after pledging to be good, Delahanty got drunk.
The next day was his last. It was a travel day for the squad, and they were on a train heading through upstate New York. Delahanty, half out of his mind, chases teammate Highball Wilson around the train with a knife.
That was it. Delahanty’s poor behavior earned him an ejection from the train at 10:45 PM. He was in the Niagara Falls region at the time and tried to walk across the International Bridge to Canada. A security guard told him to go somewhere else because he wasn’t supposed to be there. Surly and agitated, Delahanty said, “I don’t care whether I’m in Canada or dead.”
He never made it to Canada. What happened isn't exactly clear. What is clear is that he died, falling into the water, never to be seen again. Suicide? That’s the most likely case. He was depressed, distraught, talking about death, and in the right place for it. Accident? He could have slipped since he was badly drunk. There were stories that maybe some shady fellows attacked and killed him, disposing of his body in the Falls, but that’s not likely.
Mostly likely, Delahanty committed suicide. However it went down, Delahanty died on that bridge 40,000 days ago.
Aside from that, many other events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary.” The better ones are in bold if you’d rather just skim through things.
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