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Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball

Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball

Jerrold Casway

“Part history, part mystery, Casway’s book offers fascinating insights into baseball at the turn of the century and the tragic death of one of its superstars.” —Stan Hochman, Philadelphia Daily News

“Baseball enthusiasts will find this book one of the most satisfying biographies of recent years . . . .” — Irish Literary Supplement

“. . . In his fascinating and thoroughly researched book, Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball, Casway tells the story of a self-indulgent athlete who lived for the moment, and in the telling provides a concise history of the early Phillies during the game’s transforming era.” — Philadelphia Inquirer

“. . . a winner.” — Sports Book Review

Jerrold Casway’s fascinating biography of legendary baseball player Ed Delahanty (1867–1903) offers a compelling examination of the life and career of the first “King of Swatsville," including the enigma surrounding his tragic and untimely death. Through Delahanty’s story, Casway traces the evolving character of major league baseball and its effect on the lives and ambitions of its athletes.

Delahanty’s career spanned the last decades of the nineteenth century during a time when the sons of post-famine Irish refugees dominated the sport and changed the playing style of America’s national pastime. Baseball for Delahanty and other young Irishmen was a ticket out of poverty and into a life of fame and fortune. The allure and promise of celebrity and wealth, however, were disastrous for Delahanty; he found himself enmeshed in desperate contract dealings and a gambling addiction that drove him to alcohol abuse. The owner of the fourth highest lifetime batting average, Delahanty mysteriously disappeared and was found at the bottom of Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls.

ISBN: 978-0-268-02291-4
400 pages
Publication Year: 2004

Jerrold Casway is professor of history and chair of the Social Sciences/Teacher Education Division at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. He specializes in early modern Irish history and nineteenth-century baseball.

“. . . A staggering work by historian Jerrold Casway from 2004 that may be the most overlooked great baseball book in recent years.” — Oakland Tribune

“. . . This is an estimable biography. If Ed Delahanty has been a neglected figure in baseball history, now, thanks to Jerrold Casway’s dedication and perseverance, he has finally received the kind of thorough treatment he has long deserved.” — Journal of Sport History

“Casway has written a fascinating, carefully researched biography of a long-neglected baseball hero that will appeal to scholars as well as general readers. Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the culture and evolution of the national pastime at the turn of the century.” — History

“Besides thoroughly covering the life of Ed Delahanty, Casway does a very good job discussing the history of the Phils and the complex legal cases that arose over the reserve clause. Casway has an impressive bibliography, including such primary sources as the Delahanty files at the National Baseball Library. . . .” — Nineteenth Century Notes, Newsletter of the Nineteenth Century Committee, Society of American Baseball Research.

“. . . [Jerrold Casway] treats readers to intriguing behind-the-scenes adventures in his biography of power hitter, first baseman and Hall of Fame outfielder Edward Delahanty (1867-1903). The marvel of Jerrold Casway’s Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball is manifested by three powerful hits—the bittersweet biography of Ed Delahanty in baseball’s Emerald Age, the breadth of astounding research that supports a dramatic narrative, and Casway’s resplendent prose in delivering the whole compelling account. The book, Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball, makes for a fabulous vacation read.” — The Celtic Connection

“Long before the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees, Ed Delahanty was the ‘King of Swatsville.’ A player for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Senators who still holds the record for the fourth highest lifetime batting average, Delahanty “personified the flamboyant, exciting spectator-favorite, the Casey-at-the-bat, Irish slugger” writes Jerrold Casway in Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball. He was the “handsome masculine athlete who was expected to live as large as he played.” And he did: Gambling his way into a drinking problem, he turned up dead at the bottom of Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls.” — The Washington Post

“Jerrold Casway . . . has written a book that takes the romantic sheen off nineteenth-century baseball. The focus of his study is the Hall of Fame outfielder and first baseman Edward Delahanty, one of the most feared batsmen of his time. More substantively, Casway places Delahanty at the fore of the ethnic and labor strife that marked early professional baseball. Poor Ed Delahanty ended up at the bottom of Niagara Falls. Whether he jumped, was pushed, or dumped remains a mystery, although each scenario was plausible given professional baseball’s penchant for treating its ethnic workforce as interchangeable parts in its myth-making machine.” — Journal of American Culture

“. . . [T]his book presents an interesting picture of the early days of baseball. One hundred years hasn’t really changed the sport. Many young men still come into fame and fortune before they are mature enough to handle it. Delahanty’s demise stands as an eerie precursor to those athletes of the modern era whose careers were cut short by drug use.” — The Tampa Tribune

“The tragedy of Ed Delahanty, known in the 1890s and early 1900s as the “King of Swat” because of his hitting prowess, is fully explored in Jerrold Casway’s excellent Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball. . . . Casway’s biography is also a well-researched social history of Irish involvement in the national pastime." — Sacramento Bee

“Another former Phillie and long-gone baseball era are profiled in Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball. Jerrold Casway’s biography of the 19th-century batting star whose .346 lifetime average is fourth-best also examines Delahanty’s mysterious death at 36.” —Ron Berthel, Associated Press Writer

“In addition to delineating the substantial Irish influence in the game, the author also skillfully depicts the nature of major league baseball in this era. . . .” — The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

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Edited by Sally Barr Ebest and Kathleen McInerney
Foreword by Caledonia Kearns

Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball

Jerrold Casway

 Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball
Paper Edition

“Part history, part mystery, Casway’s book offers fascinating insights into baseball at the turn of the century and the tragic death of one of its superstars.” —Stan Hochman, Philadelphia Daily News

“Baseball enthusiasts will find this book one of the most satisfying biographies of recent years . . . .” — Irish Literary Supplement

“. . . In his fascinating and thoroughly researched book, Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball, Casway tells the story of a self-indulgent athlete who lived for the moment, and in the telling provides a concise history of the early Phillies during the game’s transforming era.” — Philadelphia Inquirer

“. . . a winner.” — Sports Book Review

Jerrold Casway’s fascinating biography of legendary baseball player Ed Delahanty (1867–1903) offers a compelling examination of the life and career of the first “King of Swatsville," including the enigma surrounding his tragic and untimely death. Through Delahanty’s story, Casway traces the evolving character of major league baseball and its effect on the lives and ambitions of its athletes.

Delahanty’s career spanned the last decades of the nineteenth century during a time when the sons of post-famine Irish refugees dominated the sport and changed the playing style of America’s national pastime. Baseball for Delahanty and other young Irishmen was a ticket out of poverty and into a life of fame and fortune. The allure and promise of celebrity and wealth, however, were disastrous for Delahanty; he found himself enmeshed in desperate contract dealings and a gambling addiction that drove him to alcohol abuse. The owner of the fourth highest lifetime batting average, Delahanty mysteriously disappeared and was found at the bottom of Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls.

ISBN: 978-0-268-02291-4

400 pages

“. . . A staggering work by historian Jerrold Casway from 2004 that may be the most overlooked great baseball book in recent years.” — Oakland Tribune

“. . . This is an estimable biography. If Ed Delahanty has been a neglected figure in baseball history, now, thanks to Jerrold Casway’s dedication and perseverance, he has finally received the kind of thorough treatment he has long deserved.” — Journal of Sport History

“Casway has written a fascinating, carefully researched biography of a long-neglected baseball hero that will appeal to scholars as well as general readers. Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the culture and evolution of the national pastime at the turn of the century.” — History

“Besides thoroughly covering the life of Ed Delahanty, Casway does a very good job discussing the history of the Phils and the complex legal cases that arose over the reserve clause. Casway has an impressive bibliography, including such primary sources as the Delahanty files at the National Baseball Library. . . .” — Nineteenth Century Notes, Newsletter of the Nineteenth Century Committee, Society of American Baseball Research.

“. . . [Jerrold Casway] treats readers to intriguing behind-the-scenes adventures in his biography of power hitter, first baseman and Hall of Fame outfielder Edward Delahanty (1867-1903). The marvel of Jerrold Casway’s Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball is manifested by three powerful hits—the bittersweet biography of Ed Delahanty in baseball’s Emerald Age, the breadth of astounding research that supports a dramatic narrative, and Casway’s resplendent prose in delivering the whole compelling account. The book, Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball, makes for a fabulous vacation read.” — The Celtic Connection

“Long before the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees, Ed Delahanty was the ‘King of Swatsville.’ A player for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Senators who still holds the record for the fourth highest lifetime batting average, Delahanty “personified the flamboyant, exciting spectator-favorite, the Casey-at-the-bat, Irish slugger” writes Jerrold Casway in Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball. He was the “handsome masculine athlete who was expected to live as large as he played.” And he did: Gambling his way into a drinking problem, he turned up dead at the bottom of Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls.” — The Washington Post

“Jerrold Casway . . . has written a book that takes the romantic sheen off nineteenth-century baseball. The focus of his study is the Hall of Fame outfielder and first baseman Edward Delahanty, one of the most feared batsmen of his time. More substantively, Casway places Delahanty at the fore of the ethnic and labor strife that marked early professional baseball. Poor Ed Delahanty ended up at the bottom of Niagara Falls. Whether he jumped, was pushed, or dumped remains a mystery, although each scenario was plausible given professional baseball’s penchant for treating its ethnic workforce as interchangeable parts in its myth-making machine.” — Journal of American Culture

“. . . [T]his book presents an interesting picture of the early days of baseball. One hundred years hasn’t really changed the sport. Many young men still come into fame and fortune before they are mature enough to handle it. Delahanty’s demise stands as an eerie precursor to those athletes of the modern era whose careers were cut short by drug use.” — The Tampa Tribune

“The tragedy of Ed Delahanty, known in the 1890s and early 1900s as the “King of Swat” because of his hitting prowess, is fully explored in Jerrold Casway’s excellent Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball. . . . Casway’s biography is also a well-researched social history of Irish involvement in the national pastime." — Sacramento Bee

“Another former Phillie and long-gone baseball era are profiled in Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball. Jerrold Casway’s biography of the 19th-century batting star whose .346 lifetime average is fourth-best also examines Delahanty’s mysterious death at 36.” —Ron Berthel, Associated Press Writer

“In addition to delineating the substantial Irish influence in the game, the author also skillfully depicts the nature of major league baseball in this era. . . .” — The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography