Kerfeld finally earns a ring for Carson
November 19, 2008
Charley Kerfeld will finally be receiving his World Series ring. It was 22 years ago as a young relief pitcher for the Houston Astros that Kerfeld came tantalizingly close to winning a World Series ring.
But the Astros were beaten by the eventual World Champion New York Mets in a memorable National League Championship Series. Now that Kerfeld has played a key role in helping the Philadelphia Phillies win the 2008 World Championship, one would think the title makes up for the near miss with the Astros.
Kerfeld, though, really doesn’t see it that way. In Kerfeld’s mind, he’ll really be receving a World Series ring for Carson City and all of his former teammates throughout his baseball career in this community.
“The thing I thought about was the kids that didn’t,” said Kerfeld about he and his teammates never really winning the ultimate title in their class, either. “Thinking about all those American Legion teams in Carson City that got so close to the title.”
“I’ll wear it proud for the whole city and all my teammates growing up I played with,” said Kerfeld about his World Series ring. “All those teams that got so close all those times.”
Kerfeld, a 1981 Carson High graduate, has kept what happened with the Astros in 1986 in perspective. “I was a kid when we got to the playoffs and we never got back to the playoffs,” he said.
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But since the Phillies won the World Series, Kerfeld said he has received numerous e-mails and phone calls from his friends from those days in Carson City.
“We did have a good group of kids that were very, very close and played together,” Kerfeld said. “We always got to the edge and never could get there.”
And when thinking about what it means to his Carson City friends to win a World Series ring, Kerfeld said, “It makes you smile.”
Kerfeld came to the Phillies as a special assistant to the general manager and he will stay in that position at least through the 2009 season. He hopes to stay with the Phillies for a long time.
“It’s an excellent organization,” Kerfeld said. “I’m not going anywhere. I found a home and I want to stay here as long as I can.”
And Kerfeld said he likes what he’s doing now and doesn’t have any aspirations of becoming a general manager himself for the time being.
“Right now I like being in the dirt,” he said. “I like to be out watching games and that kind of stuff.
“Maybe 10 years from now I’ll think about it then. But now it’s not even in the thought process.”
The best way to explain what Kerfeld does is he’s involved in scouting designed to help the Phillies win. That ranges from scouting minor league players in the Phillies organization who could be brought up or traded for immediate help, to scouting that potential immediate help on other Major League teams.
During the time around the trading deadline, Kerfeld scouted three players who the Phillies eventually traded for and all three played a key role in the team winning the title: Matt Stairs, left-handed relief pitcher Scott Eyre and Joe Blanton, who moved into the Phillies starting rotation. Stairs hit a memorable game-winning home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.
Kerfeld, though, said for the most part when it comes to those kinds of trades, “you remember the ones that go bad than the ones that go good.”
But Kerfeld admitted as far as how this year’s trades worked out involving those three players, “it makes you feel good.”
Another key role that Kerfeld played was his scouting of the Tampa Bay Rays, who the Phillies beat in five games in the World Series. Along with Jim Fregosi Jr., Kerfeld was in charge of watching the Rays throughout the playoffs.
Kerfeld’s scouting report on how to pitch to the Rays’ potent attack received a great deal of credit for the success of Philadelphia’s pitching staff in the World Series.
“I feel like I did a pretty good job,” Kerfeld said. “I think we gave the guys a pretty good game plan. I think we did pretty well myself.”
But Kerfeld noted it was the players who had to execute the scouting report. “As a scout you’re only as good as the players,” he said.
And Kerfeld noted his game plan for the Phillies pitchers didn’t work out so well in 2007 when Philadelphia was swept by the Colorado Rockies in the playoffs.
“I’ve given them information before and we lost in three straight,” he said. “None of us are geniuses.”
And Kerfeld has already begun work to help the Phillies defend their title. When asked what he was doing in the offseason, Kerfeld replied “What offseason? There’s never really an offseason.”
Kerfeld will finish up watching Major League top prospects in the Arizona Fall League on Friday. On Thanksgiving night, he’ll take a late flight to the Dominican Republic where he’ll scout the up and coming talent there.
While he’ll have some time off, Kerfeld will keep working through spring training. As he said, “There’s only one place to go ” that’s down.”