“Big Ed” Konetchy was born on September 3, 1885. He also had the nickname “The Candy Kid”. He made his major league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals at age 21 and played for them 1907 to 1913. He also played for the Pirates, Braves, Robins and Phillies in his career.
Cardinals Find First Baseman
In 1907 St. Louis Cardinals manager John McCloskey sent scout Jack Huston to find a new first baseman. Huston heard that LaCrosse was harboring “the next Hal Chase,” a youngster who was “cutting up” the Wisconsin League. After watching Konetchy in person, Huston advised McCloskey of his find and the Cardinals purchased the 21-year-old first sacker for $1,000. After signing Konetchy for $275 per month, McCloskey told reporters that he’d “just signed a tall Greek from the tall timbers.”
The next day Konetchy made his major league debut, getting his first hit in a 4-3 loss to the Reds. Less than a week later, before a Cardinals’ game in Pittsburgh, a delegation of Greeks approached home plate with a band, a large stand of flowers, and a gold watch. “I wondered what it was all about, as I was asked to the plate,” said Konetchy. “One of the fellows stepped forward, shook my hand and greeted me cordially. Then he began speaking in what I later found out was Greek. I stopped him and told him that I was very sorry, but that I happened to be Bohemian. He looked puzzled, then disappointed, glanced at me, then the big floral piece, which was fully as tall as I am, and said, ‘You take it, kid, and the best of luck to you.'”
Face of the Team
He was a righthanded hitter and throw and primarily was used as a first baseman. He came into his own in 1909 when he led the team in hits (165) and stole 25 bases. In 1910, he batted .302 and stroked 16 triples. He was now becoming the face of the Cardinals during a time of very little winning.
Pitched Three Games
He finished the 1911 season by leading the league with 158 games played a rapping 38 doubles. He followed that with a .314 batting average in 1912. Konetchy was a line drive hitter with a short stroke. He led the team in hitting four consecutive (1909-1912) seasons. He did pitch in three games and had a 1-1 record in his career.
Rescuer on Train Crash
In 1911, with the Cards only three games out of first place in early July, the team was involved in a train crash on its way from Philadelphia to Boston. 47 passengers were injured, while twelve died. None of the Cardinals were seriously injured, due to a pre-trip change in the location of their car to the rear of the train. Konetchy and Cards manager Roger Bresnahan led the rescue effort, carrying many passengers to safety, some of whom may have died.
- 1991 Games
- 7471 At Bats
- 2513 Hits
- 465 Doubles
- 151 Triples
- 219 Home Runs
- 1422 RBI’s
- .310 Batting Average
- Led the league with 20 triples, 31 HR, 136 RBI’s (1928)
He was traded to Pittsburgh after the 1912 season.