Wyatt: They called him Big Ed

From Daniel Wyatt at The National Pastime Museum on April 14, 2014:

Quick . . . name the only player in MLB history to win a batting title in both the American and National leagues. Stumped? A hint . . . it was before Ty Cobb. Try, Ed Delahanty, who performed the feat by hitting .410 with the 1899 Philadelphia Phillies of the National League, and .376 with the 1902 Washington Senators of the upstart American League. Playing in the so-called Dead Ball era, Delahanty was a slugger among slap hitters and the most feared batsman in his day. He remains fifth on the all-time list for career batting average, wedged firmly between Joe Jackson and Tris Speaker. Now that’s some respectable company.

Ed Delahanty was known as a dead pull hitter with no visible weaknesses at the plate. He could also hit to the opposite field, based on how the defense played him. If the outfielders were too deep, he’d smash the ball over the infield. Also, to shake up a pitcher who was trying to get in a grove by throwing a strike right off, Delahanty liked to hit the first pitch. According to Fred “Germany” Schmit, a pitcher in the 1890s, “when you pitch to Delahanty, you just want to shut your eyes, say a prayer, and chuck the ball.” Another pitcher, Philip “Red” Ehret, added, “He was the hardest man in the league for pitchers to puzzle.”

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/they-called-him-big-ed

Originally published: April 15, 2014. Last Updated: April 15, 2014.