A Real One-of-a-kind, San Diego’s George Pernicano

Pernicano & Namath

One the greatest characters in San Diego Chargers history is minority owner, George Pernicano, whose association with the Chargers began when they first moved to San Diego, and he was able to purchase a small stake in the team.  Since that time, Pernicano has remained very closely connected to the team, and has attended every Chargers game, home and away, and manages to watch a fair number of practices as well.  Now into his 90’s, Pernicano can still be seen in a private box at Chargers games that he shares with one-time team owner, Barron Hilton.

George Pernicano first came to San Diego from Detroit in the 1940s, and according to him, introduced pizza to San Diego.  He slowly began opening his Pernicano’s pizza restaurants, as well as a classier Italian eatery called Casa di Baffi, which translates into House of the Mustache. Did I mention that Pernicano still has the best handlebar mustache this side of Rollie Fingers, which, for years, he had insured for $50,000 with Lloyd’s of London?

Pernicano became something of a local celebrity because of his gregarious nature, mustache, restaurants and connection to the Chargers, so when the above photo came up on ebay, I knew that I needed to add it to my collection.  Shown above are Pernicano and one of the more famous attendees of the Casa di Baffi, New York Jets legend, Joe Namath, on the sidelines after a game at San Diego Stadium.

Pernicano's Placemat


Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

3 Responses to A Real One-of-a-kind, San Diego’s George Pernicano

  1. R.J. Parks says:

    George is my grandfather’s god son. My grandfather, James Caputo lived on George’s Santee ranch for several years. George was kind enough to let us kids come down to spend summers with our grandparents and enjoy the ranch. We mowed lawns, rode the tractor and on occasions we attended a Pardre game. We fed the animals , fixed fences, explored and had great food.
    George and his brothers always made us all feel part of the family. It was the time of our lives.

  2. How do I get in touch with George? I am inspired by his story. I want to share with him my journey of similar path. Please pass any contact details along.

    Thank you.

  3. Dan D'Agostino says:

    George is my Dad’s cousin. We lived in NE Ohio when the Chargers played the Steelers in the ’83 playoffs, so my aunt contacted George about the game. He was kind enough to meet us at the hotel (yes, he still had the mustache) get us tickets to the game, and load us up with Charger souvenirs which are still in my parents home today. Today’s game made me think of George, and I was happy to see his team take down the team of the city that I live in today. Thanks for writing this article.

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