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Norine and the King of Swatsville

1903 WS.jpg

Mystery, Tragedy, and Baseball
by Jonathan Josephson


In early 1903, Edward "Big Ed" Delahanty was on top of the world. He was an elite ballplayer in the rapidly growing Major Leagues and also a beloved family man. Sadly, by that summer, his swing slowed down and his world began to unravel. In July, Big Ed's body was found at the base of Niagara Falls gorge - all but naked, missing a leg. He had been thrown off a train crossing over the Falls ten days earlier for "drunk and disorderly conduct" including threatening train passengers with a straight razor.

But what really happened that night on the train, and what lead to Big Ed descending to such a dark place? This play-with-music, presented as a mystery being investigated by Big Ed's widow Norine, examines the truths, speculations, and imaginings of the final days of one of sports history's most infamous tragic heroes.


​Norine Delahanty - 24, Female
Big Ed’s dutiful wife. Never worked a day in her adult life, born to be a New York socialite. A mother to five-year old Florence. Not terribly into baseball but passionate about her husband, her family and her lifestyle.

Edward “Big Ed” Delahanty - 35, Male
The Hall of Fame left fielder for the Philadelphia Quakers and Phillies, and later the Washington Senators. Muscular, handsome, a roughneck in dandy clothing. Emotionally distraught, outwardly gregarious, mentally unstable - also an alcoholic. An inspirational hero, a violent menace. “The King of Swatsville.”

Eloise Hamilton - 20s, Female
A train passenger - pleasant, lower class but proper, adamant about what is right Can be played by:

Mama (Bridget Delahanty) - 50s-60s, Female
Mother of Ed Delahanty, an Irish immigrant. Loyal to her son but also concerned for his well being C

Conductor John Cole - 30s-50s, Male
An exuberant train conductor. Also plays KINGSTON (M, 20s-40s) a night watchman at Niagara Falls.

John "Mugsy" McGraw - 30, Male
The player-manager for the New York Giants, Big Ed’s trusted friend (and a future Hall of Famer). Also plays: BENNETT (M, 30s-50s): manager of the Pullman Car Company. Officious, bottom-line driven; also plays GANGSTER (M, Any): a hired gun of few words.​

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