Former Columbine standout Darrel Akerfelds, who served 11 years as the San Diego Padres bullpen coach, died June 24 of pancreatic cancer. He was 50.
Akerfelds, who pitched for five seasons in the major leagues after being drafted seventh overall in the 1983 amateur draft by the Seattle Mariners, was diagnosed with the disease in December 2010. He also pitched for the Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies, recording a 9-10 record with a 5.08 earned run average.
Prior to playing in the majors, Akerfelds played football and baseball at the University of Arkansas before transferring to Mesa State. He played 12 years of professional baseball.
“It’s just sad. He’s a Columbine Rebel,” said Columbine assistant coach Joe Gimbel, who grew up around the Akerfelds family. He last saw Akerfelds in January. “He helped build those rivalries Columbine vs. Arvada, Columbine vs. Lakewood. Those rivalries today go back to when Darrel played. ... There was nobody like him. He was that good. He was a man playing against boys.”
He was a two-time letterman in football at Arkansas in 1980 and ’81 before transferring to Mesa State where he became an All-American in 1983 after pitching his way to a 10-3 mark with a 3.64 ERA.
Akerfelds is survived by his companion, Julie, and a son, Dalton.