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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