Edward Joseph “Ed” Konetchy
Born: September 3, 1885 - La Crosse, WI
Died: May 27, 1947 - Fort Worth, TX
Career BA: .281
St. Louis Cardinals NL (September 3, 1885 - May 27, 1947)
Pittsburgh Pirates NL (1914)
Pittsburgh Rebels FL (1915)
Boston Braves NL (1916–1918)
Brooklyn Robins NL (1919–1921)
Philadelphia Phillies NL (1921)
There are a number of darn good first basemen in the storied Cracker Jack Collection, and Ed “Koney” Konetchy is near the top of the list. Also known as the “Candy Kid” and the “Big Bohemian,” Konetchy banged out over 2,100 hits to go along with a solid .281 batting average over his stellar career. Considered a prodigy in the minors, Ed dominated in the majors. Some predicted he would become the greatest first baseman of that era. Konetchy left school at age 14 to work in the local candy factory. After working 10 hours a day, he brought his sweetness out to the ball field, and played until dark.
When Konetchy got to the big leagues, he became one of the most respected players in the game. Although he got paid pretty good money to play, he had a genuine passion for baseball. Between salary disputes and being traded for multiple players on a few occasions, Konetchy played on six different teams including a stint with the Federal League’s Pittsburgh Rebels. A hard negotiator, the story goes that Konetchy met Cardinal’s manager Roger Bresnahan in a barroom to negotiate his contract, and the two proceeded to drink all day. After seven hours of imbibing, they finally came to an agreement and the contract was signed. One of the good guys of baseball, Konetchy, along with Bresnahan, is credited with saving many lives in a train wreck that occurred on a Cardinals’ trip in 1911. Both men carried passengers to safety and cared for the injured until help arrived.
Besides batting over .300 four different times, Ed had 255 stolen bases and a spectacular fielding percentage of .990, superb numbers. He once had 10 consecutive hits over a three-game period. The epitome of a dedicated ballplayer, Konetchy was well-liked and respected by teammates and opponents. He had some great seasons in the minors after his MLB tour. While playing for the Fort Worth Panthers in 1925, he led the Texas League with 41 homers. After his playing days, Konetchy returned home to manage the La Crosse team and won the Wisconsin State League championship in 1940. He later went into the restaurant business, the chicken farm business, and scouted for the Cardinals.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html