July 13, 2011
Ed Delahanty is one of my favorite Phillies to ever put on a uniform, as his skill was matched only by his insanity. A good example of the former came on July 13th, 1896. Big Ed and the Phillies faced the Chicago Cubs at the West Side Grounds (above.) This was the ballpark the Cubs would call home from 1893-1915, and was the last home they’d win a championship in (pretty incredible, but the Cubs have never won a World Series since they moved into Wrigley).
The facts about what Ed did are in question. There are some historians who claim he hit all inside the park home runs, while there are others who say that two of them cleared the wall. Nonetheless, there is no argument that he went 5 for 5 that day, with 4 home runs off Cubs pitcher Ned Garvin. He became the 2nd player to ever hit 4 homers in a game. The story goes that after hitting 3 homers, Cubs center fielder Bill Lange called time and backed all the way up to the center field wall, a full 560 feet away from home. It drew a laugh from the crowd, but it didn’t do the Cubs much good. Delahanty hit a gapper and rounded the bases. Of course, this being the Phillies, they still lost the game, 9-8. He would be the only player to hit 4 homers in a losing cause until 1986, when the Braves’ Bob Horner went yard 4 times in an 11-8 loss to the Expos.