Elliott: R. I. P. Brian Coffey

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By Bob Elliott

Canadian Baseball Network

Brian Coffey wasn’t the best to ever play centre field at Megaffin Stadium or the Cricket Field in Kingston.

Yet, Coffey would be in the conversation along with the speedy Cliffy Earl, speedster Bert Vince, slugger David Gilmour and quick as Peter Bourjos, Roy Baron.

Brian Stephen Coffey, in his 75th year, passed away Tuesday on Wolfe Island.

Coffey played seven seasons with Kingston from 1967-1973, his first and his final year were both championship seasons at the senior level. The Lakeview Indians won the senior title in 1967 with a 5-3 victiory to sweep the best-of-three series against the Orillia Majors at the Cricket Field. Coffey doubled, singled and knocked in a run in Game 2 and singled in Game 1 when Doug Arniel hit a game-winning homer in the top of the ninth for a 4-3 win.

The 1967 season saw the city of Kingston (Population:: 60,000) win three Ontario senior championships: the Kingston Aces won the Sennior A title, the Kingston Merchants won Senior B and on the diamond, Kingston won the OBA senior A title. Coffey hit .242 in his career with four home runs and 43 RBIs in 139 games, as he scored 68 runs. His best season was in 1967, when he hit .296 in 19 games. The next year he hit 1968, led the club with two home runs.

And in 1973 Kingston beat Ottawa Alta Vista Ritchies, Fort Erie, Orillia and Orillia again thanks to the pitching effots of Duke Murphy and Wayne Murphy.

A retired Kingston Fire Fighter, he batted .287 in 1969 in 24 games with a career-best 27 hits and 10 RBIs. Coffey lost a step when he broke his ankle crashing into the catcher in an ugly collison at the plate. The Northern New York State League game was played at the Watertown Fairgrounds in Watertown, NY.

Before playing for Kingston he was a Wolfe Island Bridge Booster along with OF Elwyn Watts, OF Eldon (Crunch) McCready, RHP Art Leeman and C Billy Kyle.

Deepest sympathies are expressed to his wife Eileen (Hulton) of 53 years, their children Paul (Devon), Jill (Dave Topping) and Steve; grandchildren Will, Charlotte, Mack, Ava and Ben.

He was predeceased by his parents Charles and Rose (O’Reilly). Brian Coffey was the late brother of Kevin (Maureen), Anne Barton (John), the late Paul, Mary Rockman (Peter), Frank (Jane), Pat, Christine Holland (Nick), Dan (Andrea), Denise Knowles (Jeff Parker) and Colleen. He was brother-in-law to Jim (Julia), Wayne (Lola), Craig (Joyce), and predeceased by Laverne (Sharon), Mary Hawley and Lorne (Theresa). He will be missed by aunts Sister Anne Coffey CND, Theresa Fargo and Noreen O’Reilly, his many nieces, nephews and cousins.

The family will receive friends at the Central Chapel of the Gordon F. Tompkins Funeral Home (49 Colborne Street, at Clergy Monday April 29, between the hours of 2-to-4 and 6-to-9 p.m.

Burial will be celebrated at Sacred Heart Church Wolfe Island on Tuesday at noon. Cremation will follow, with the family gathering privately for the burial.

Memorial Donations wishing, may be made to University Hospitals Kingston Foundation for Blood Disorder Research (Cheques payable to UHKF), or to the Wolfe Island Fire Department.