Some athletes dominate with their sheer size. Others overpower with strength or speed. North Vancouver’s Bernard ‘Buster’ Moberg rates on both counts. The six-foot two-inch 225-lb “Hall of Flame-thrower” has also left behind an impressive legacy of numbers and statistics dominating the golden era of BC’s top softball league unlike any player before or since.

Born in Cranbrook, but raised in North Vancouver from six months of age on, Moberg played Little League until switching to softball at age twelve. His first coach, Northwest United’s Bob Sarginson, soon taught him how to throw a change-up that was as hard to hit as any ever thrown by a BC pitcher. Soon enough, he developed a blazing drop pitch to match. Crossing the plate, the bottom literally fell out of the 100-mile-per-hour pitch feared by as many hitters as it confounded. The left-handed Moberg also employed a wicked riser that jammed up countless right-handed batters.

Much of the credit for Moberg’s stellar pitch selection can be credited to three men. Two were the catchers for most of his senior career: Bill Gurvich and Ron Pettovello. Both were masters at calling pitches that led to easy outs. Gervich occasionally told batters what Moberg was going to throw and they still couldn’t hit them.

The other influence was Don Danbert, a windmill pitcher in the North Vancouver Senior B league that Moberg liked watching as a teen. Eventually he mimicked Danbert’s style. In an era of orthodox underhand pitchers who threw mostly off-speed “junk ball” pitches, Moberg used the windmill to mow down hitters with raw speed and power. At high speeds, occasionally control was an issue. One time while practicing in the backyard, an errant pitch went clean through the basement door. To say he was feared would be a huge understatement.

Statistically, no one can touch Moberg. During his fourteen-year career (1958-71) on South Hill Senior A men’s pitching mounds, Moberg rewrote the record book recording the most-ever wins (111), most innings pitched (1099), most strikeouts (1598, for an amazing average of 1.5 per inning), most no-hitters (11), most one-hitters (14), and most shutouts (33). One game he pitched nearly seventeen straight hitless innings. On other occasions he struck out twenty batters in a nine-inning game and twenty-two in thirteen innings. At an Edmonton invitational tournament, he pitched a perfect game.

Four times he led his Vancouver teams to the Canadian championship title. He also pitched for six BC championship teams at the world championships. The highlight came leading his Carling Pilseners to an eighth-place finish out of twenty-one teams at the 1958 worlds as a fresh-faced nineteen-year-old. There Moberg lost a sixteen-inning heartbreaker 1-0 to Cairo, Georgia after striking out eighteen and later went on to record wins over Washington, D.C. and Cloquet, Minnesota.

His dominance at times was frightening. Over a stretch of four seasons, Moberg won twenty-eight consecutive league games. Counting league, tournament, and Interior pick-up games, as well as BC, Canadian, Western Canadian, Canadian, and world championship games, Moberg estimates he racked up between 250-300 wins over his remarkable pitching career.

Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.