Community Sports

Saturday, Mar 29 2014 10:52 PM

New book chronicles former local sports stars

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Call it a look at some unique elements of Kern County's sports history.

Bryce Martin, a former pro baseball player who has written for The Californian, the Taft Midway Driller and the Ridgecrest Daily Independent, has put together a book detailing some notable athletes and events from Kern County's past.

"Kern County Sports Chronicles," which was published in 2013, is on sale at Barnes & Noble for $19.95.

Most of the chapters in Martin's book are from articles he wrote during his journalism career, mostly in the 1970s, but one as recent as 1987. Most of the chapters featured stories that were generated during his years in the Ridgecrest area.

There are some well-known subjects, like boxer Jerry Quarry, former major league pitcher George Culver and former South High and Cal State Bakersfield wrestling coach Joe Seay.

But most of the book features lesser-knowns with unique stories to tell. Like "Buckshot" May, a pitcher in the 1920s for the Pittsburgh Pirates who was the first Bakersfield-born major leaguer, and Vern "Moon" Mullen, who played in the 1920s with the Canton Bulldogs and other teams in the NFL's infancy before retiring in Taft, where he taught at Taft High for more than 30 years.

Also included is a look at rocket car designer Ray Van Aken, rodeo team ropers Dennis Watkins and Julio Moreno, a Taft-based skydivers group, and a look at the independent Bakersfield Outlaws of the California League in 1978.

Martin also includes updates on the individuals he features. Many are now deceased, but several remain in Bakersfield and Kern County.

Longtime Californian sports editor and columnist Larry Press wrote the foreword.

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