Jim Konstanty

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Casimir James Konstanty
(Big Jim)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Jim Konstanty played 11 seasons in the majors. He was one of baseball's first relief aces, and he won the 1950 National League Most Valuable Player Award.


After graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in physical education, Konstanty began his pro career in 1941. He reached the majors with the Cincinnati Reds in 1944, starting in 12 of 20 appearances. After missing 1945 while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he was back in the majors with the Boston Braves to begin 1946. After posting a 5.28 ERA in 10 outings, his contract was sold to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League, for whom he pitched for the next several seasons.

After learning the palmball from former big leaguer Ted Kleinhans, Konstanty was back in the majors with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1948. In 6 late-season relief appearances for the team that year, he allowed just 1 earned run while winning 1 game and saving 2 others. He became the key figure in the club's bullpen the next summer, winning 9 games and finishing second in the National League to Ted Wilks with 7 saves. The 1950 marked the peak of his success as he saved 22 games to set a new NL record. He also established MLB records (since broken) for games pitched (74), games finished (62), and relief wins (16). For his work, he was named NL MVP, and the Phillies went on to win the pennant. In the World Series that fall, he was called upon to start Game One for Philadelphia and took the loss, despite giving up just 1 earned run and 4 hits over 8 innings. He made two more relief appearances in the Fall Classic that year, but his team was swept by the New York Yankees.

Following two more years pitching out of the Phillies bullpen, Konstanty split the 1953 campaign between starting and relief roles. He won 10 games (with a 5.11 ERA) as a starter but put up a much better 2.82 earned run average out of the bullpen. Late in the next season, he was acquired by the Yankees, and he saved 11 games for New York in 1955. However, he was released by the club early in the 1956 season and finished the year with the St. Louis Cardinals. He retired after making a handful of appearances for the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League in 1957.

After baseball, Konstanty was the athletic director at Hartwick College from 1967 to 1972 and owned and operated a sporting goods store in Oneonta, New York from 1948 until retiring in 1973. He died at age 59 from stomach cancer at Fox Hospital in Oneonta and is buried at Maple Grove Cemetery in Worcester, New York.

His grandson, Mike Konstanty, was drafted in the 2008 amateur draft.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL All-Star (1950)
  • NL MVP (1950)
  • NL Games Pitched Leader (1950)
  • NL Saves Leader (1950)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1950)

1949 1950 1951
Jackie Robinson Jim Konstanty Roy Campanella

Related Sites[edit]