Sunday, October 20, 2013

Baseball's Checkered (Distant) Past: "No One Is Innocent"

On July 9, 1903, the mangled corpse of baseball star Ed Delahanty was discovered at the base of Niagara Falls, several thousand dollars of cash and diamonds he was believed to have been carrying lost to the foaming waters. Missing for a week and only discovered after his leg had been sawed off by a boat propeller, Delahanty was soon the subject of whispers, no one sure whether murder, suicide, or a terrible accident had caused his mysterious plunge into the Falls. 
While Delahanty’s end might appear less appropriate for a baseball player than for a gangland loser or a victim of the sharp end of Tammany-era politics, he was hardly alone among baseball players of the period. Numerous stars from the sport’s earliest days came to grief, their tragedies as much as their exploits helping to frame our national pastime.
Not that the present is squeaky clean, just to point out the Black Sox weren't the only scandal of the early days of the game.
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