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Profile from the past: Ed Delahanty

Delahanty was an offensive powerhouse for the Phillies over 100 years ago

Ed Delahanty was an outfielder and first baseman who played for the Phillies from 1888-89 and again from 1891-1901.

Born in Cleveland on Oct. 30, 1867, he was the eldest, and most talented, of five brothers who played in the Major Leagues: Frank (1905-15), Jim (1901-15), Joe (1897-1909) and Tom (1894-1897).

After starring in amateur baseball in Cleveland, he began playing professionally for Mansfield (Ohio State League) in 1887. The 20-year-old started the next season with Wheeling, W.Va, (Tri-State League) when the Phillies purchased his contract for a reported $2,000.

After two years with the Phillies, Delahanty jumped to the Players League, but returned to the Phillies in 1891 after the new league folded. From 1892 to 1901, he anchored a Phillies lineup that included outfielder "Sliding Billy" Hamilton, outfielder Sam Thompson, second baseman Nap Lajoie and outfielder Elmer Flick. All five of these players were eventually inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Phillies' outfield in 1894 had four players that hit .400 or better, Delahanty (.404, 116 games), Thompson (.407, 102 games), Hamilton (.404, 132 games) and Tuck Turner (.416, 82 games).

Two years later, Delahanty became the first player in Phillies history to hit four home runs in one game. He was also the first Phillies batting champion after he hit .410 in 1899. He became the first player in Major League history to hit over .400 three times (.404 in 1884 and '85).

During his Phillies career, Delahanty led the National League in a major offensive category 24 times.

In the 2012 Phillies Media Guide, page 266 lists the team's career batting marks. Out of 20 different categories, Delahanty's name appears in 16. Even though he last played for the Phillies 111 years ago, he remains the team's all-time leader in doubles (432) and triples (151). His .347 average is second to Hamilton's .360.

Delahanty's name appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot five times starting in 1936, but he wasn't elected by the writers. He was inducted by the Veterans Committee in 1945. The Phillies began their Wall of Fame in 1978 and he was the seventh player honored (1985).

Delahanty's final two years in the Major Leagues were with the Washington Senators in the American League from 1902-03. Records indicate he played his last Major League game on June 25, 1903. Seven days later, he was no longer living.

Death came when Delanty was swept over Niagara Falls. Reports are varied as to whether he fell or jumped. One of the greatest players in Phillies history tragically died at age 35.

Larry Shenk is a contributor to
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