Oberkfell named top minor league manager

Norfolk Tides manager Ken Oberkfell has been named the 2005 Minor League Baseball Manager of the Year by Baseball America magazine.

Oberkfell managed the Tides to a 79-65 record in 2005, as Norfolk won the International League South Division title by 14.0 games over the Durham Bulls. Under Oberkfell's guidance, 21 players played for both the Tides and Mets in 2005, as Norfolk advanced to the semifinals of the Governors' Cup playoffs for the first time since 2001.

The award has been given annually to the top manager in all of minor league baseball by Baseball America since 1981. Oberkfell is the 5th manager in the International League to win the award, and the second manager in the Mets' system to win the honor, joining Sam Perlozzo in 1984. He is the first Tides manager to win the award since its inception.

The 2005 season was Oberkfell's fifth with the Mets organization, and the fourth straight season in which he has reached the postseason.

He began managing with the Mets during the 2001 season with the Class-A Capital City Bombers, before spending the 2002 and 2003 seasons with the High Class-A St. Lucie Mets, where he reached the Florida State League playoffs in 2002 and won the FSL title in 2003.

He then skippered the 2004 Double-A Binghamton Mets to the Eastern League playoffs before being promoted to Norfolk prior to the 2005 season. Prior to joining the Mets, Oberkfell worked as a coach in the Phillies organization.

Oberkfell, 49, played 16 seasons in the majors with St. Louis, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Houston and California from 1977-1992, finishing his career with a .278 average, 29 home runs, and 446 RBI.

He led the National League in fielding percentage three times, and was a member of the 1982 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Oberkfell also reached the World Series as a member of the San Francisco Giants in 1989.

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