Fitzpatrick: The undertaker who brought Jim Konstanty to life

From Frank Fitzpatrick at the Philadelphia Inquirer on June 23, 2018:

Andy Skinner must have felt strangely helpless when, on June 11, 1976, the body of Jim Konstanty arrived at his Worcester, N.Y., funeral home.

In the past, this small-town undertaker had always been there for his bespectacled friend. Now there was no advice to be offered, no lesson to be learned, nothing to be done but ready his corpse for a Sunday afternoon funeral.

Skinner thought back to the winter of 1947, when he and Konstanty, then a 30-year-old minor-leaguer going nowhere, first talked about pitching during a long car ride.

The funeral director had never played baseball, but he was an avid bowler and pool-shooter and knew a lot about spin. The next day the two met in a high school gym, where Skinner showed Konstanty how to improve his palm-ball change-up, slider, and curve.

The pitches, the pitcher, and to some extent baseball itself were transformed.

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Originally published: June 27, 2018. Last Updated: June 27, 2018.