Phillies History: Taking a Look Back on Phillies MVP Winners

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1950 MVP Award Winner Jim Konstanty

Prior to the Cy Young Award’s creation in 1956, pitchers and hitters both had to compete for the Most Valuable Player award. In most seasons nowadays, the best hitter takes home the MVP while the best pitcher takes home the Cy Young, giving each position group a fair shot.

In what would likely never happen in modern times, Phillies relief pitcher Jim Konstanty won the National League MVP award in 1950. Konstanty anchored the Phillies bullpen as their closer, finishing off the wins set up by Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons.

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Konstanty led the major-leagues with 22 saves along with finishing 62 games. He appeared in 74 games, also a league-high. Konstanty also posted a solid ERA (2.66) and WHIP (1.039) over 152 innings.

Konstanty’s WAR in 1950 varies depending on which formula is used. He was an All-Star caliber player according to Baseball Reference’s WAR (4.7), but barely above replacement-level by Fangraphs’s calculation (0.9).

This discrepancy is due to Konstanty’s low ERA (2.66), but high fielding-independent pitching (3.77). Since Fangraphs uses the latter in their calculation, it makes sense Konstanty’s fWAR is far lower than his rWAR.

Konstanty won the MVP voting by a large margin. He appeared on 85% of the ballots as he received 18 of 24 first-place votes. He collected 286 points in the voting, 128 more than the runner-up Cardinals legend Stan Musial.

1950 was another flash in the pan for the Phillies, with Konstanty contributing to their first pennant since 1915. Konstanty didn’t post an ERA below 3.90 again until 1954 when the Yankees claimed him off waivers and he saw a slight revival in his career. However, he once again declined in 1956, ending his career in the Cardinals bullpen.