NATIONAL LEAGUE MVP PITCHER
Casimir (Jim) Konstanty was raised on a farm in Strykersville. He starred in sports at Arcade High School and played basketball at Syracuse University.
Konstanty pitched briefly for the Cincinnati Reds in 1944 and the Boston Braves in 1946 and spent three years in the minors before the Philadelphia Phillies called him up in 1948. He became a relief specialist, who employed a slider and palm ball with great effectiveness.
In 1950, when the Phillies “Whiz Kids” won the National League pennant, Konstanty had an excellent year, appearing in 74 games (then a major league record), winning 16 games with a National League leading 22 saves and being named to the All-Star team. He was named the NL “Most Valuable Player”; to date, he is the only National League relief pitcher to achieve such an honor. He was also honored with the Associated Press “Athlete of the Year” award in 1950. In a surprise move, he was named to start Game One of the 1950 World Series against the New York Yankees. Konstanty gave up only four hits in eight innings but lost the game, 1-0.
Konstanty finished his 11-season career in 1957. He posted a 66-48 record with 74 saves and a 3.46 ERA in 433 games. He retired to Worcester, NY and operated a sporting goods store in Oneonta until 1973. He served as the director of athletics at Hartwick College from 1968-72. He died in Oneonta at the age of 59 in 1976.
Jim Konstanty was elected into the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.