Edward Joseph Konetchy
(Big Ed, Eddie, Koney, Candy Kid, the LaCrosse Lulu, the Big Bohemian, Edward the Mighty)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2½", Weight 195 lb.
- Debut June 29, 1907
- Final Game October 1, 1921
- Born September 3, 1885 in LaCrosse, WI USA
- Died May 27, 1947 in Fort Worth, TX USA
Ed Konetchy has the most triples of any major leaguer not in the Hall of Fame. He was a slick-fielding first baseman who played mostly during the deadball era. He was a likeable man who was considered a top player due to his combination of offensive and defensive skills. Although he ranks #15 on the all-time list for most triples, he never led the league in that category (he was second twice). He consistently led the league in defensive categories, and would likely have won numerous Gold Gloves if they had existed then.
Konetchy played seven of his 15 major league seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals in the days shortly before Rogers Hornsby joined the team. He appeared once in a World Series, late in his career as part of the 1920 Brooklyn Robins.
In 1907 he stole home twice in one game.
The similarity scores method shows Wally Pipp and Hal Chase as the most similar players, but clearly he is also similar to Keith Hernandez, a player of more modern times who played when home runs were easier to hit and triples harder to hit.
- FL Total Bases leader (1915)
- NL Doubles Leader (1911)
- Holds record for highest career fielding range, first basemen (84.8999)
- Held record for highest career Win Shares per Plate Appearance among St. Louis Cardinal first basemen until broken by Jim Bottomley in 1932
- Tied Dick Hoblitzel for most games played, year, first baseman, Major Leagues (1911 & 1916) until Broken by Bill White in 1962.
- Held record for most years, leading League in Fielding Average, first baseman, career, Major Leagues (8) until broken by Charlie Grimm in 1933.
- Held record for most years, leading League in Putouts, first baseman, career, National League since 1900 (5) until broken by Frank McCormick (1945)
- Held record for most years, leading League in Chances Accepted, first baseman, career, National Leagues since 1900 (5) until broken by Bill Terry in 1934.
- Held team record for most games played, year, St. Louis Cardinals (158) until broken by White in 1962
- Held record for fewest Total Chances, double header, first baseman, National Leagues since 1900 on 26 July 1919 (9) until broken by Eddie Waitkus on 31 May 1948.
- Tied with Walter Holke for longest errorless game, first baseman, Major Leagues (26 innings), 1 May 1920.
- Tied with Holke for most innings played, game , first baseman, Major Leagues (26 innings 1 May 1920.
- Tied record held by many for most steals of home, game (2), 30 September 1907.
- Tied record of Ed Delahanty and others for most consecutive hits (10), 28 June 1919 to 1 July 1919 until broken by Pinky Higgins, 21 June 1938.
- Tied National League record of Delahanty and others for most consecutive hits (10), 28 June 1919 to 1 July 1919
- Set record for most Total Chances, first baseman, World Series game (19), 7 October 1920
- Held record for most games played, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (982) until broken by Rogers Hornsby in 1922.
- Held record for most at bats, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (3,585) until broken by Hornsby in 1922.
- Held record for most runs scored, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (501) until broken by Hornsby in 1921.
- Held record for most hits, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (1,013) until broken by Hornsby in 1921.
- Held record for most two base hits, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (158) until broken by Hornsby in 1921.
- Held record for most three base hits, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (94) until broken by Hornsby in 1922.
- Held record for home runs, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (36) until broken by Hornsby in 1921.
- Held record for most runs batted in, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (476) until broken by Hornsby in 1921.
- Held record for most stolen bases, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (151) until broken by Lou Brock in 1966.
- Held record for most total bases, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (1,467) until broken by Hornsby in 1922.
- Held record for most games played, first basemen, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (981) until broken by Jim Bottomley in 1929.
- Held record for most putouts, first basemen, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (10,091) until broken by Bottomley in 1930.
- Held record for most Chances Accepted, first basemen, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (10,731) until broken by Bottomley in 1930.
- Held record for most Total Chances, first basemen, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (10,857) until broken by Bottomley in 1930.
- Held record for most assists, first basemen, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (640) until broken by Stan Musial in 1959.
- Held record for most errors, first basemen, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (126) until broken by Bottomley in 1930.
- Held record for most double plays, first basemen, lifetime, St. Louis Cardinals (492) until broken by Bottomley in 1930
- Led Wisconsin State League First Basemen in Games (106); Putouts (1,009); Assists (78); Chances Accepted (1,087); Total Chances (1,117) and Fielding Percentage (.973), 1905
- Led Wisconsin State League First Basemen in Fielding Percentage (.981), 1906
- Led National League First Basemen in Games (154) and Assists (122); 1908
- Led National League First Basemen in Putouts (1,584); Assists (97); Chances Accepted (1,681); and Total Chances (1,707) 1909
- Had a 20-game hitting streak in 1910
- Led National League First Basemen in Putouts (1,499); Assists (98); Chances Accepted (1,597); Total Chances (1,612) and Fielding Percentage (.991); 1910
- Led National League in Games Played (158) and Doubles (38) and led First Basemen in Games (158); Putouts (1,652); Chances Accepted (1,723); Total Chances (1,739) and Fielding Percentage (.991); 1911
- He was one of very few players to hit a ball out of old Robison Field in St. Louis
- One of only five position players to chalk up a pitching win in the twentieth century (1913)
- Led National League First Basemen in Fielding Percentage (.995); 1913
- Led National League First Basemen in Games (154); Putouts (1,576); Assists (93); Chances Accepted (1,669); Total Chances (1,677) and Fielding Percentage (.995); 1914
- Led Federal League in Long Hits (59) and Total Bases (278) and led First Basemen in Fielding Percentage (.994); 1915
- Led National League in Games Played (158) and led First Basemen in Games (158); Putouts (1,626); Assists (96); Chances Accepted (1,722); and Total Chances (1,740); 1916
- Led National League First Basemen in Fielding Percentage (.994); 1917
- Led National League First Basemen in Fielding Percentage (.992); 1918
- In 1919 became the third of eight NL players to collect a then-record ten consecutive hits
- Led National League First Basemen in Fielding Percentage (.994); 1919
- Led National League First Basemen in Errors (20); 1921
- Led American Association First Basemen in Triple Plays (2); 1922
- Led Virginia State League in Home Runs (33) and RBI (98) and led first basemen in Double Plays (99) and Fielding Percentage (.997); 1924
- Led Texas League in Games Played (155), Home Runs (41), RBI (166), Extra Bases on Long Hits (172) and Total Bases (385) and led First Basemen in Games (155); Putouts (1,470); Assists (92); Chances Accepted (1,562); Total Chances (1,569) and Fielding Percentage (.996); 1925
- Led Texas League First Basemen in Assists (119); Errors (20) and Triple Plays (2); 1926
- Broke up five no-hitters, four in one year
- Only 16 players have hit more Triples in their career than Konetchy
- Has highest Range Factor of any First Baseman in History (over ten years)
- Told that Konetchy was a local boy, LaCrosse manager Pink Hawley said, "Well, he is a better player at that than some that we have on our payroll right now." (Konetchy was 15 at the time)
- He was the kind of player that "even the umpire liked," with a "handshake that is sincere and a friendship more than surface."
- "I used to get up and walk the two miles to the factory, carrying my dinner pail, and work ten hours. After that we'd all get together and walk two miles in another direction to the ball field. There we'd play baseball until it was too dark to see, and then we'd walk home. We did this not once or twice, but five times a week on average. Sunday we'd gather the club together and go off to some one-horse place maybe three or four hours ride away on a slow train to play baseball with some other club."
- It wasn't until Konetchy was 16 that he joined the competitive factory team. "They needed someone to play left field and I was willing to fill the gap," he said. "It never occurred to me that I might play another position, and I was so anxious to get on the team somewhere I didn't care especially where I played."
- After signing Konetchy for $275 per month, Cardinal manager John 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. Before the Cardinals' next 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.'"
- "I not only play baseball for the salary connected with it, but I really and truly love the game," Ed once told a reporter, "and I like to fan just as much now as I did in the old days back in LaCrosse, when we used to get the pictures of the athletes out of cigarette boxes. I used to play all the time that I could get a chance with some little scrub team or other, but the first real serious experience I had along this line was after I'd gone to work."
- "Koney has had to handle more weird throws in two years than any two National League guardians of the initial corner," wrote a St. Louis reporter. "But he dug up and pulled down so many of them that patrons who marveled at these extraordinary performances have come to take them as a matter of course."
- 1885: Born on September 3rd in La Crosse, WI, one of seven children born to parents from Bohemia.
- 1899: Dropped out of school and began playing semipro ball
- 1905: Broke into Organized ball at age 19 with the LaCrosse Pinks in the Wisconsin State League
- 1906: Married Aubrey Seawel on September 27th at age 21
- Sold to St. Louis Cardinals for $1,000 some time in June
- At 21 years old, broke into the big leagues on June 29th
- On September 30th, Konetchy stole home twice in St. Louis' game against the Boston Doves. St. Louis set a MLB one-game record with three steals of home as Joe Delahanty also scored in the 8th.
- 1910: Had a 20-game hitting streak in early July
- 1911: The team was involved in a train wreck on its way from Philadelphia to Boston. A dozen passengers were killed and 47 others injured
- 1912: On August 5th, he hit two inside-the-park home runs in an 8–4 win over the Brooklyn Dodgers
- On June 22nd, George Pearce of the Chicago Cubs stopped the Cards on one hit, a single by Konetchy.
- On July 18th, he drew a walk from Christy Mathewson, ending a streak of 68 walkless innings by the Giants' pitcher. Matty's record will not be topped until Bill Fischer, in 1962.
- That year, he became one of only five position players to chalk up a pitching win in the twentieth century.
- On December 12th, the Pittsburgh Pirates cleaned house in an eight-player swap with the Cardinals. Going to St. Louis were Dots Miller, a 1909 World Series hero, 14-game winner Hank Robinson, 3B Cozy Dolan, infielder Art Butler, and OF Chief Wilson, king of the triple. The Pirates received pitcher Bob Harmon, 3B Mike Mowrey, and Konetchy, whom the Bucs had been after for years.
- 1915: He did not respect the reserve clause and jumped to the Pittsburgh Rebels of the Federal League.
- Deemed to be the property of the Rebels under the Peace Pact which governed the demise of the Federal League, he was sold to the Boston Braves for $18,000 along with Elmer Knetzer and Frank Allen on February 10th
- On June 28th, the Giants' Ferdie Schupp stopped the Braves on one hit, a single by Konetchy.
- On June 30th, for the second time in three days, Konetchy collected his team's only hit in a game, a single. Today it is Rube Benton of the Giants firing the one-hitter.
- On September 28th, in the fourth doubleheader whitewash in the National League this month, the Giants' Jeff Tesreau topped the Braves, 2–0, in the opener. In the second game, Ferdie Schupp yielded a 7th-inning single to Konetchy, breaking up his no-hitter. Schupp finished with a one-hit, 6–0 win.
- On September 30th, in the opener of a doubleheader, Giants pitcher Rube Benton took a no-hitter into the 8th inning before Konetchy repeated his performance of two days earlier by lacing a hit, the only Boston safety. Benton wins the one-hitter, 4–0 for New York's record 26th win in a row.
- 1920: On May 1st, in Boston, Brooklyn's Leon Cadore and the Braves' Joe Oeschger dueled for 26 innings to a 1-1 tie in the longest game ever played in MLB. Oeschger shut out the Dodgers for the last 21 innings, topping Art Nehf's 20 scoreless frames in a row on August 1, 1918. He gave up nine hits and Cadore allowed 12, in the 3-hour, 50-minute game. An unusual double play occured in the 17th inning when the bases were loaded with one out. A grounder to Oeschger resulted in a throw home, forcing the runner. C Hank Gowdy's throw to 1B Walter Holke was fumbled, and when the runner tried to score from second base, the throw back to Gowdy nipped the sliding Konetchy, who played the entire 26 innings
- 1927: Ended his baseball playing career at age 42
- 1938: Resigned on May 6th as manager of the Brownsville Charros in the Texas Valley League and was replaced by Brooks Conover
- 1942: Ended his managing career at age 57 after managing the La Crosse Blackhawks for the previous three years
- 1947: Died on May 27th in Fort Worth, TX at age 61
- Raymond Gonzalez: The Spoilers, Society for American Baseball Research, Cooperstown, NY, 1974
- Paul and Eric Sallee: "Edward Joseph Konetchy", in Tom Simon, ed.: Deadball Stars of the National League, SABR, Brassey's Inc, Dulles, VA, 2004, pp. 339-341.
- Ira L. Smith: "Edward Joseph Konetchy" , in Baseball's Famous First Basemen, A.S. Barnes And Co., New York, NY, 1956, pp. 82-89.
Principal Source Materials include The Historical Register, compiled by Bob Hoie & Carlos Bauer, The Biographical Encyclopedia: Baseball by the Editors of Total Baseball, The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs (1915-1922) (WW); old Baseball Registers (1945;1959) (BR); TSN's Daguerreotypes, (1958;1961) (Dag); The Baseball Necrologyby Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase (PD), The Baseball Library (BL); various Encyclopediae including The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball by Turkin & Thompson (T&T), MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia (Mac), Total Baseball (TB), The Bill James Historical Abstract (BJ) and The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (LJ); Retrosheet (RS), The Baseball Chronology (BC), Baseball Page (BP), The Baseball Almanac (BA), and obituaries at deadballera.com (DBE).