The New York Mets today announced that Ken Oberkfell
will return as manager of the Buffalo Bisons for the 2010 season. Pitching Coach Ricky Bones
will also remain a part of the Herd's staff while Jack Voigt
has been promoted from the Brooklyn Cyclones (A) to take over as the team's new Hitting Coach.
The Mets also announced that athletic trainer Brian Chicklo and strength and conditioning coach Ken Coward will return for their second seasons with the Bisons. Buffalo opens up its 125th season on Thursday, April 8, 2010 in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The 15th manager of the Bisons in the Modern Era, Oberkfell, 53, returns for his sixth season at the helm of the Mets' Triple-A affiliate (Norfolk Tides: 2005-06, New Orleans Zephyrs: 2007-08). In 2009, the Bisons finished 56-87. Oberkfell was named to the coaching staff of the International League All-Star team and was the first base coach during the IL's 6-5 victory over the Pacific Coast League.
The 2010 season will mark Oberkfell's 14th season as a minor league manager and his ninth year in the New York Mets organization. His career managerial record of 868-890 includes an 811-802 record (.503 winning percentage) in affiliated baseball. He won a Florida League State Championship with St. Lucie in 2003 and has made the playoffs in four of his last five full seasons as a manager.
Oberkfell's 16-year major league career included eight seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. He played 137 games with the Cardinals in 1982 and helped the team to a World Series Championship. A lifetime .278-hitter with 29 home runs and 446RBI in 1,602 games, Oberkfell also played with Atlanta, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Houston and California. He led all National League second baseman in fielding percentage in 1979 (.985) and topped all NL third baseman in defense in 1982 (.972) and 1983 (.960). Oberkfell finished with more walks than strikeouts in 13 of his 16 seasons, with career totals of 546 walks to only 356 strikeouts.
Pitching Coach - Ricky Bones
Bones is entering his second year as Bisons pitching coach and his fourth season in the Mets minor league system. In 2009, Bisons pitchers tossed nine complete games, two more than any other IL club. Buffalo also finished T5th in shutouts (10) and 7th in fewest home runs allowed (108) while posting a 4.04 team ERA. Prior to joining the Bisons, Bones spent 2007 and 2008 as the pitching coach of the Binghamton Mets (AA) of the Easter League. He joined the Mets in 2006 as the pitching coach for the Florida State League Champion St. Lucie Mets.
Bones pitched 11 seasons in the major leagues with San Diego, Milwaukee, New York-AL, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Baltimore and Florida with a career record of 63-82 and a 4.85ERA in 375 games. He was an American League All-Star with Milwaukee in 1994 and won 10+ games in three consecutive seasons with the Brewers (11 -1993, 10 -1994, 10 -1995).
Hitting Coach - Jack Voigt
Voigt is entering his fifth season in the Mets organization and his first as the hitting coach of the Bisons. After joining the Mets as an advanced scout in 2006, he spent two seasons as a coach with the New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA). Last season, Voigt served as the hitting coach for the Brooklyn Cyclones (A) that earned the NY-Penn League Wild Card position but lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Voigt began his coaching career as a player/coach with Oklahoma City (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League in 2000. After serving as the hitting coach for Frederick Keys (A) in 2001, he managed the Orioles' Carolina League affiliate in 2002. He moved on to the baserunning and outfield coordinator for the Baltimore Orioles in 2003 and then a roving baserunning and bunting coach in the Atlanta Braves organization in 2004. In 2005, he served on Frank Robinson's coaching staff with the Washington Nationals in various on and off the field roles.
Voigt played seven seasons in the major leagues with Baltimore (1992-1995), Texas (1995-1996), Milwaukee (1997) and Oakland (1999) and hit .235 (138-588) with 20 home runs and 83RBI in 294 big league games. He was originally drafted by the Orioles in the ninth round of the 1987 Amateur Draft out of Louisiana State University. In his first pro season, he was named NY-Penn League Player of the Year after hitting .320 with 11 home runs and 52RBI in just 63 games with Newark.
Athletic Trainer -Brian Chicklo
Chicklo is entering his ninth year as the Mets' Triple-A trainer and his 11th year in New York's organization. In 2008, he was named Pacific Coast League Trainer-of-the-Year while with the New Orleans Zephyrs. Chicklo graduated from Shenandoah University in 1995 with a BS in Kinesiology and earned an MS Degree in Sports Injury Management from UNLV in 1998.
Strength and Conditioning Coach -Ken Coward
Coward spent the past eight seasons as the Mets assistant strength and conditioning coordinator for the minor leagues. He is certified as a strength and conditioning specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is also a Level One United States weightlifting club coach with the US Weightlifting Association. Coward owns an online personal training company named Total Human Elevation.