July 13, 2011
Welcome to Delahanty Day here at PSH. This is a good one. It comes to us from the Baseball Hall of Shame 3. There is no exact date on this one, but it supposedly happened in July of 1892. The following from the book.
It happened at the Huntington Grounds, where Philadelphia was playing host to Chicago. That stadium had one unique characteristic-a “doghouse”. It was a tiny structure with an oval topped doorway that made it look like it had been built for man’s best friend. The doghouse was situated at the base of the flagpole in right field and was used to store numbers for the scoreboard.
In the 8th inning of game the Phils led, 2-1, future Hall of Famer Cap Anson came to the plate. He hit a ball into right field that somehow got stuck in the doghouse. Big Ed tied to crawl in to retrieve the ball. Again from the book:
“From the grandstand, all that was visible was the rear elevation of his country seat,” wrote W.N. Pringle, a spectator whose account of the incredible incident was published 16 years later. “His heels were kicking in the air in a lively manner in his frantic efforts to extricate himself.
In the meantime, Mr. Anson was clearing the bases at a lively clip amid the greatest excitement I ever saw on a ballfield. I do not think there were a dozen people in that immense crowd who were not on their feet, laughing, cheering and yelling themselves hoarse, and throwing hats, canes, and umbrellas in the air.”
By the time teammate Sam Thompson helped Delahanty out of the doghouse, 3 runs had scored and the Cubs had taken a 4-2 lead. At least, that’s what the book (and presumably Mr. Pringle) would have us believe. However, the Phils won all their home games against the Cubs in 1892, with the Cubs never scoring 4 or more runs in Philly. And I can’t find any other mention of the story online. Is Big Ed getting a bum rap in an embarrassing story? As of press time, I have been unable to contact Mr. Pringle or anyone else who was at that game. If you know any Phillies fans from the 1890s, have them get a hold of me.