By Jerry Del Priore
Earlier in February, the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame recognized former New York Mets coach Ken Oberkfell by adding him to its prestigious institution.
Oberkfell, who is the current independent Gateway Grizzlies hitting coach, played eight years with the St. Louis Cardinals, hitting .292 with a .362 OBP and 118 doubles.
In 1982 he manned third base for the World Series Champion Cardinals as part of an infield considered by several baseball people to be one of the best defensive infields of all time. This stellar infield included Keith Hernandez (1st base), Tommy Herr (2nd base), and HOF Ozzie Smith (shortstop).
That year, Oberkfell hit the game winning knock against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
The sixty-one-year-old former infielder coached in the Mets’ minor league system from 2001-08 before the team handed him interim bench duties at the major league level, on June 17, 2008.
After going back to managing in the minors in 2009 and 2010, he was again tabbed as New York’s bench coach, this time sans the interim tag, in 2011, but kept the job for only one season.
Oberkfell spent a total of 15 years in MLB with a career batting average of .278 with 1,354 hits and 446 RBIs.
The Grizzlies begin the season on May 1st (TBA) at Southern Illinois Miners.