Charley Kerfeld is home for the winter

Today we'll continue our visit with Charley Kerfeld. The former major league pitcher who starred for Carson High School and later the Houston Astros, is back home in Carson City for the winter before he heads to his new job as manager of the Chico Heat in the Western Baseball League next year.

Charley, 36, is now retired as a player. He began his managing career in 1994 with the Beaumont Bullfrogs in the Texas-Louisiana League. In 1996 he became manager of the Gray Harbor Gulls.

"I managed them for three years until they folded," said Charley. "We played all of the last half of our 1998 season on the road when the team went bust in Washington State, where we were based. Last year I managed the Reno Blackjacks."

That team also doesn't exist anymore. I asked Charley why he chose managing over, say, a pitching coach job, possibly at the major league level.

"I like to control the game," he replied with a smile. "The strategy intrigues me. I like managing and wanted to stay in baseball. I'm happy with my life and enjoy my job and the challenge involved. I'm looking forward to leaving in February to manage the Heat. I like to motivate the kids. I made the playoffs four of the six years I managed."

As for becoming a pitching coach, Charley has had offers.

"I've been offered 10-12 pitching coach jobs in the majors, but I like to manage so I turned them down," he said. "I would accept a major league coaching job or a minor league managing job (those can lead to a major league managing job) but nobody has offered that yet .... I like managing in independent leagues. It'll do until something better comes along."

Charley, who admits to being a "party animal" in his youth, said he was married for seven years but that ended in divorce. No children from that marriage.

Now he is a "changed man" who no longer does some of "the crap" he did when he was younger.

"I've mellowed now," he added happily. "Slowed my life down a whole bunch. I like the simple things now. I did what I wanted so far in my life. My goal was to make the major leagues and I did. I'm friends with Matt Williams - we were teammates at Carson High School - and with Donnie (Donovan Osborne), who was a little younger than us. All of us made the majors, as did CHS grads Bob Ayrault and David Lundquist. "

POKER & BASEBALL CARDS - Charley, who has lived in Carson City since he was 9 years old, is staying with his mom and dad (Marge and Jerry) in their Carson City home while here, just like he always does when he comes to Carson City.

"I always come home to Carson City and spend about three months a year here in the winter," he noted. "I'm just living life and being happy. That's fun now. I have some great memories and hope to have many more before all is said and done. Life has been good for me."

He works out at Capitol Courts and says he and a few others play a lot of three-on-three basketball.

"I also fish a little, play a little golf, but I'm really not an outdoors person," he continued. "I like to play Texas Hold-Em and am a homebody now."

Being an old card player myself, we talked about poker and the best places to play - we both like the Peppermill in Reno. I showed Charley my favorite card trick, called the "Fan trick" and it really amazed him, if I say so myself. In fact, he got me to teach him how to do it.

"I'll use that trick a lot," he laughed. "I've got how to do it down pat now."

Speaking of cards, I asked Charley if he had any of his baseball cards from his days in the majors.

"I've got a box full in my bedroom," he answered as he went to get some. "I'll give you these."

He handed me three baseball cards and I noticed all three had his first name spelled "Charlie." I inquired why, and if the cards are worth anything.

"They may be worth a penny each," he laughed as he told me I could keep them. "And they've been spelling my name wrong for years."

Does that make the cards worth more?

"Yeah," he replied cheerfully. "Maybe 2 cents apiece now."

So much for my idea of selling them and retiring with the money. But I will save them just in case something strange happens and they become worth a bundle someday. And I know where to get lots more if I need them.

IT AIN'T ME - When Alan Rogers - everybody calls him Al - bought and opened "Big Al's Good Time Pizza" in the Silver City Mall, 230 Fairview Drive, on July 28, there was a story in the Nevada Appeal about it and many people thought, and still do, that I was the Alan Rogers who bought it.

Time to put that story to rest .... It ain't me!

Al and Penny Rogers of Minden - with whom we've visited before - are the new owners/operators of Big Al's. When I stopped by to visit, the first question I had for Al was: Why a pizza place?

"A moment of insanity," was his laughing reply. "Actually, it's something I always thought I could be good at and when we found out this place - it used to be Goodfellas - was available, Penny and I jumped in with both feet."

Al has worked at a "pizza place" in Dayton before and he knows the business. "I learned the business there," he noted. "It's gone now. Burned down about six months ago."

Penny is the bookkeeper and administrator for the business and Al does the rest.

"I stay out of her office and she stays out of my kitchen," he said happily. "It works well that way."

Al is also a past president of the Carson City Raiders Booster Club and now "just a member" and he wanted you to know Big Al's is the "official home" of the non-profit club.

"Every Raider game is shown on our big screen TV and we welcome members and non-members to join us," said Al. "We have about 80 club members and are always looking for new members."

Call Al at 887-1997 for additional club information.

P.S. Have a great Thanksgiving holiday everyone ....

ALAN ROGERS is a Nevada Appeal columnist. His message phone is 887-2430, ext. 402.


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