Coach Gerald Pickens’ contributions to Compton youth, baseball unparalleled over 23-year career
COMPTON — A local baseball institution will be honored, Sunday. Coach Gerald Pickens will receive due recognition and distinction for his unparalleled contributions to youth and baseball for more than two decades in Compton.
The Coach Gerald Pickens Scholarship Luncheon will begin at 2 p.m. at the Douglas F. Dollarhide Community Center, located at 301N. Tamarind Ave. in Compton.
“Coach G is in his third decade of providing a safe and affordable alternative that keeps our youth in a safe and productive environment,” said Compton School Board President Satra Zurita, who will co-emcee the event along with her sister, council member Janna Zurita.
Pickens has been coaching baseball in Los Angeles County overall for 40 years and helped guide several of his players to the major leagues, including former Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers star Eric Davis, who will speak at the luncheon.
Pickens, who has been battling cancer, began coaching at Centennial High School in 1994. He started the Compton Baseball Academy Teams (CBATs) which has been an integral part of the community since 1998.
A MLB Urban Youth Academy Hall of Fame member, Pickens has played a measured role in helping dozens of young men get recruited to play baseball in college at highly touted programs at USC, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Arizona State University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
As if his contribution to baseball hasn’t been enough, “Coach G” as he is affectionately called, was inducted into the American College Cricket Hall of Fame in 2014. Cricket is a sport that is thought to have inspired American baseball.
“Organized sports allow youth — both boys and girls — to pursue their dreams. They have the added value of helping keeping our young people in school,” said Satra Zurita. “Coach G has long educated the community about the value of keeping young men in baseball and out of trouble. I’m honored to be part of this celebration.”
In addition to Zurita, CUSD School Board members Micah Ali, Charles Davis, Margie Garrett and Alma Pleasant are members of the Honorary Committee to honor “Coach G.”