A line-drive hitter with little long-ball power, Oberkfell twice batted above .300 and was not prone to slumps. A tough and durable player, he averaged 130 games per season despite knee surgery, a broken thumb, and an elbow injury.
Signed as a shortstop, Oberkfell came up with the Cardinals as a second baseman. Later he moved to third base to make room for Tommy Herr. His glove proved adequate, as he led the league at both positions in fielding average. Atlanta acquired him during the 1984 campaign to replace the injured Bob Horner at third. With Horner mended, the Braves opted to continue with the steady Oberkfell, moving Horner to first base.
Pittsburgh traded Tommy Gregg to acquire Oberkfell for the 1988 stretch run; the Giants acquired him for 1989 and he led the NL with 18 pinch hits.