McCurdy: Ed Delahanty and the power of gravity

From SABR member Bill McCurdy at The Pecan Park Eagle on August 25, 2014:

As a matter of course in reading all kinds of ancient baseball history, enough of it, done continuously over time, and you eventually will form your own orbital-steady contact with the story of Ed Delahanty, the ancient Hall of Fame left fielder who died tragically in 1903 after being put off a train for being “drunk and disorderly” at Fort Erie, Canada, at the International Bridge near Niagara Falls that leads to Buffalo, New York.  Some said he was brandishing a knife on the train after having consumed several whiskies that night and threatening other passengers.

At any rate, after the ejection, “Big Ed” as he was often called, apparently decided to cross the expansive rail ridge on foot, but never made it. About a week later, they found his body a short distance downstream, but were never able to determine if Ed Delahanty slipped, jumped, or was pushed off the bridge into the waters below. One account from a later secondary witness suggests that he was last seen being followed by another mysterious figure who was never identified.

Since Delahanty’s body was found without the wallet and jewelry he was known to have had on him at the time of his disappearance, the cause heats up for robbery/murder, but that suspicion alone does not rule out the possibility that he was simply relieved of these personal valuables after his dead body was first discovered. The Ed Delahanty Death lives on as a cold case for the ages. Back then, they either could not, or did not try to determine his exact cause of death. Was it caused by the impact trauma of his fall? Was it the result of drowning? Or was there any evidence of prior trauma from an assailant that might lend credence to the possibility of murder? No one knows today because nothing was ever determined back then.

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Originally published: August 25, 2014. Last Updated: August 25, 2014.