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Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Voice of '86: Astros relief pitcher Charlie Kerfeld


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During the 1986 regular season, Astros reliever Charlie Kerfeld had an 11-2 record with a 2.69 ERA and seven saves in 61 appearances. He finished fourth in the voting for NL Rookie of the Year -- ahead of Barry Bonds. In the 1986 NLCS against the Mets, Kerfeld made three relief appearances, giving up only two hits, one walk, and one earned run in four innings.

"In New York, we'd walk down the street to eat, and people would be yelling at you from the car. Our fans were the same way. It had (become) a pretty good rivalry, and that team over there seemed to thrive on controversy. The Mets, they were the team in our league that everyone hated. (But) the more junk that went on around them, the better they played.

"It might sound crazy, but I still feel the sting of (losing to the Mets). To this day, I still feel it was the greatest playoff series that has ever been. I thought we stood up pretty well against them. Really, I think both starting staffs did their jobs. Mike Scott was the MVP on the losing team, which tells you how good the pitching was.

"The only thing I was disappointed in the series, I can still see the play called in the fifth inning of Game 5 -- Craig Reynolds hit a groundball to Wally Backman, and Fred Brocklander called him out. I'm still bitter about that. I think that cost a chance to get us to the World Series.

"But we had our chances to win. In Game 3, we had a lead. In Game 6, we had a 3-0 lead in the ninth. They were a phenomenal team. That's what hurt so bad. If they'd have just kicked our butts, I wouldn't have had ill feelings about the series, but with the umpire missing the call &

"There's still nights when I wake up and see (Game 6) on ESPN Classic and think, 'Oh, God, I've got to see this again?' "

Kerfeld, now 38, manages the Chico Heat of the Western League.