Was he the best scholastic basketball player in Parochial League history?
While that calls for a subjective response – one upon which we can’t all possibly agree – we can agree that Bobby Kallfelz was among the very best…notwithstanding multiple knee injuries costing him senior year greatness and a college career.
Bobby was a four-year starter at St. John the Evangelist – a team without its own gym that had its practices and played it games at North High School. He played basketball and baseball for Hall of Famer Bob Felasco. At 5-foot-11. Bobby (Class of 1958) was considered by Felasco – and many others – the best to ever play hoops in what was a great schoolboy league in a bygone era.
The 1957 Parochial League championship game against St. Vincent’s says it all about Bob Kallfelz. With his team down 11, he scored 12 of St. John’s last 14 points, including two with four seconds remaining – and Evangelist won 93-92.
As a junior, Bobby averaged 28.8 points per game. He scored more than 1800 points in a scholastic career cut short by injuries.
While he scored seemingly at will, the fact that he led his team in assists meant more to him. And he has always talked up his old teammates, particularly John Caveny, who went inside at 6-foot – maybe 6-1 - for a team Kallfelz said “had no forwards, all guards.”
Of Caveny, who went on to star for LeMoyne College, Bobby asked rhetorically: “Who else for this city was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks?”
And Kallfelz always had the highest regard for Felasco, on whom he said: “He meant more to me than anyone. Running offense and press, press, press. He really made all of us.”
But Bobby was the star of stars, the kid from Eastwood who used to set pins at Danny Biasone’s Eastwood Sportscenter, was befriended by the Hall of Famer and Syracuse Nats’ owner, and who loved watching swift Nats’ guards push the ball up the court. “They ran, we ran.” Bobby said.
A scholarship frosh at Syracuse, he needed more knee surgery and transferred to Murray State, but he couldn’t play on ailing legs.
Years later he would become director of mausoleum sales/marketing for the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. The father of four, Bobby and his wife Kim live in Las Vegas.