On the Topic of Gruesome 19th Century Ballplayer Deaths

Bergen Article

The author, in the midst of conversation with viscount of the internet Rob Neyer last week, inquired of that latter party which — of all the horrifying and notable deaths died by 19th century ballplayers — which of them he (i.e. Neyer) regarded as particularly emblematic of that time. Neyer’s answer: a drunken Ed Delahanty, having just alighted from a train by order of its conductor, falling into Niagara Falls. A strong entry, one is forced to agree.

By means of social media, American wordsmith Josh Wilker submits another worthy candidate — namely, the case of Boston catcher Marty Bergen. Widely praised for his defensive prowess, Bergen was also a victim of mental illness. In January of 1900, at age 28, he murdered his wife and two children by means of an axe, before using a straight razor to slice his own throat — an endeavor he pursued with such enthusiasm, a Wikipedia contributor relates, that he “nearly beheaded himself.”

*Image from January 20, 1900, edition of New York Times.

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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

28 Responses to “On the Topic of Gruesome 19th Century Ballplayer Deaths”

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  1. jwb says:

    The Bergen brothers were odd. Marty you covered, his brother Bob is probably the worst hitter to have a career of any length.

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  2. This is my favourite feature of Notgraphs.


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  3. Clark D says:

    I assume the present author is communicating to us that he, like Bergen, is the victim of mental illness and should not be held responsible for the imminent death of this blog.

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  4. Yirmiyahu says:

    So does this mean that after Carson brutally bludgeons his only child (Notgraphs) to death with an axe, he will then mercifully end himself with a straight razor?

    The only problem with that plan is that he’ll surely pass out as soon as he sees all the blood.

    #KeepNotgraphs #KillCistulli

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  5. "Bibles" Briscoe says:

    Is the headline using “suicide” as an agent noun? Is it correct to say Bergen is a murderer and also a suicide-er?
    #KeepNotgraphs #SuicideCistulli

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  6. Darkstone42 says:

    Speaking of gruesome and wholly unnecessary deaths…


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  7. Kris says:

    Cistulli once attempted murder by axe but was ultimately defeated by Newton’s laws. Whether it was his inability to overcome the force of gravity acting upon 2kgs or his propensity to neurotically reference all things 17th century ad nauseam, we will never know. We do however know that this outcome was not unexpected.

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  8. jcxy says:

    Curiously, he even received a HOF vote.

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  9. Damaso's Burnt Shirt says:

    Did Martin ever work as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel? I’m sure he would have fit in there.

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  10. Mr Punch says:

    Bill Bergen never got any HOF votes, despite playing (parts of) 11 seasons – that’s what a .395 OPS does to you. Marty, according to Baseball-reference, had some minimal support in 1937-8-9.

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  11. The Valdese Falcon says:

    Bergen apparently couldn’t handle Y19K,

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  12. ljc says:

    Chrome crashed when I first attempted to come to this page. It’s as if it were trying to wean me from Notgraphs.


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  13. Puig's Translator says:

    Poor guy had a career war of exactly -1
    As career human being I’m going to have to give him a -4
    That -4 lives above replacement level human beings

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  14. Puig's Translator says:

    Also his career walk rate was a mere 3.8%
    If only he could have walked away on that fateful night

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  15. OJ Simpson says:

    Shoulda wore gloves, man.

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  16. Jeff says:

    In all seriousness, doesn’t this sound like an effect of repetitive head trauma? Can we get a post about player murder/suicides pre and post helmet?

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