George Culver, 2013 Inductee

George Culver

Graduated from North High in 1961. Played baseball, football, basketball and ran track and cross country. Helped Stars win their 1st  South Yosemite League baseball championship in 1961. Pitched and lost in the Valley semi-finals to Roosevelt High of Fresno, 4-2, in 14 memorable innings at Sam Lynn Ball Park. Pitched all 14 innings, as did opposing pitcher Wade Blasingame of Roosevelt. Ironically they later played together on the Houston Astros. Finished high school with a 26-4 career record. Played parts of two seasons for the legendary Sam Barton at the JV level.

Names Barton as one of the most influential people in his life. Two year varsity starter in basketball, selected 2nd team all-SYL and honorable mention all-Valley as a senior. Finished in top 5 in scoring in SYL.

Attended Bakersfield College for 2 years after leaving North High and played for another legend, Gerry Collis, whom he considers the most influential person in his career. Helped BC win its first ever Metropolitan Conference baseball championship in 1962, earning 1st team all-Conference honors.

Signed with the New York Yankees out of BC in 1963, making it to the major leagues in 1966 with the Cleveland Indians. Played 9 years in the major leagues with the Indians, Reds, Cardinals, Astros, Dodgers and Phillies. Finished his career playing in Japan’s major leagues in 1975 then retired. Finished with a career record of 48-49, 23 saves and an ERA of 3.63. Highlight of career came on July 29, 1968 while pitching for the Cincinnati Reds. Pitched a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies, winning 6-1. Playing for the Phillies in that game was East Bakersfield High legend Johnny Callison.

Started coaching in the minor leagues for the Phillies in 1981 until 1998. Went to work for the Dodgers in the minor leagues in 2001 to 2005 and again from 2008 to 2010 before retiring from professional baseball. Hosted 12 celebrity golf tournaments from 1970-1981, raising money for BC baseball. In 1989 started the Light Brigade, a non-profit organization dedicated to the benefit of youth baseball in this area. The main project for the Light Brigade was the BC Baseball Hot Stove Dinner which ran for 22 years, raising over $1,000,000  for the BC baseball program in the process. The funds were used to erect lights, scoreboards, dugouts and  storage facilities, purchase various field maintenance equipment and build a clubhouse for the BC players. Gerry Collis Field is now considered one of the top JC facilities in the nation. In 2006 raised over $1,000,000 to help Cal State Bakersfield start up its first ever baseball program as the school initiated a move to become a D-1 program.

In 2012 was elected to the California Community College Hall of Fame. Also a member of the Reading (Pa.) Phillies Baseball Hall of Fame, The Bakersfield College Alumni Hall of Fame and the Bob Elias Kern County Hall of Fame. A baseball and picture from the no-hitter are on display in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

Now retired and enjoying life with his wife Rosie. They will be celebrating their 36th anniversary next week. He’s back home now in what he considers the greatest town in America, Bakersfield, California.