Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks

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Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks
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Nicknames 'Panners
Founded 1960
League Alaska Baseball League
Based in Fairbanks, Alaska
Ballpark Growden Memorial Park
Colors Blue, Gold, Red
Owner(s) Alaska Goldpanner Baseball, Inc (non-profit)
President Brian Rasley
Manager Dave Nakama
General manager John Lohrke
Championships NBC (1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1980, 2002)
Alaska (1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1991, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2013, 2014)
Broadcasters Gero von Dehn
Website http://www.goldpanners.com

The Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks are a collegiate summer baseball team which was founded in 1960 as an independent barnstorming team. The Goldpanners were charter members of the Alaska Baseball League at the league's inception in 1974. The Goldpanners play their home games at Growden Memorial Park in Fairbanks, Alaska, United States. They also host the annual Midnight Sun Game at their home venue.

Like other amateur collegiate summer baseball teams, the Goldpanners operate in a similar manner to professional minor league organizations: playing a nightly schedule, using wooden bats, and with lengthy road trips facing advanced competition. Facing a unique challenge due to Fairbanks' isolated location, the Goldpanners often play teams from the rest of Alaska and the West Coast of the Lower 48.

History[edit]

Founded by H. A. Boucher in 1960, Fairbanks' baseball team first made national news when the Pan-Alaska Gold Panners appeared in the 1962 NBC national championship game. Following a business re-organization led by W.G. Stroecker in 1963, the team changed was renamed the Alaska Goldpanners.

In 2008, former Goldpanner Bill "Spaceman" Lee returned to Fairbanks as an alumnus of the Midnight Sun Game. During his time with the club, which included a win for Lee in the Midnight Sun Game, Bill declared that the Goldpanners were "the number one amateur baseball organization in history."[citation needed]

Championships and honors[edit]

  • 1960 Championship: North of the Range League
  • 1961 Championship: North of the Range League
  • 1961 Championship: Alaska Regional NBC Tournament
  • 1961 2nd Place: Alaska State Championship
  • 1962 Championship: North of the Range League
  • 1962 Championship: Alaska State Tournament
  • 1962 Championship: Alaska Regional NBC Playoff
  • 1962 Championship: Alaska Regional NBC State Tournament
  • 1962 2nd Place: National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1962 Award: National Non-Pro Team of the Year
  • 1962 Award: Most Popular National Non-Pro Team
  • 1963 Award: Most Popular National Non-Pro Team
  • 1964 Championship: Alaska State Tournament
  • 1964 2nd place: National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1966 Championship: Hawaii International Baseball Tournament
  • 1966 Championship: World Baseball Tournament
  • 1970 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 1970 Championship: National Baseball Congress Big West Conference Tournament
  • 1971 2nd Place: National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1972 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 1972 Championship: National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1972 3rd Place (Pool A): Haarlem Baseball Week
  • 1973 Championship: Alaska World Series
  • 1973 Championship: National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1974 Championship: Kamloops, B.C., Canada, International Baseball Tournament
  • 1974 Championship: National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1974 Championship: Kamloops, B.C., Canada, International Baseball Tournament
  • 1975 Championship: Kamloops, B.C., Canada, International Baseball Tournament
  • 1976 Championship: National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1976 Championship: Kamloops, B.C., Canada, International Baseball Tournament
  • 1977 Championship: Kamloops, B.C., Canada, International Baseball Tournament
  • 1978 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 1979 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 1980 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 1980 Championship: National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1981 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 1982 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 1983 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 1984 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 1986 Championship: Alaska Baseball League Pacific Division
  • 1988 Championship: U.S. Open Baseball Tournament - Tahoe
  • 1990 Championship: U.S. Open Baseball Tournament - Ontario
  • 1991 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 1993 Championship: Alaska Federation
  • 1993 2nd place: Grand National Baseball Tournament
  • 1994 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 1994 Championship: Alaska Baseball Tournament
  • 1995 Championship: Alaska Federation
  • 1995 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 1996 Championship: Hawaii International Baseball Tournament
  • 1998 2nd place: Canada International Baseball Tournament
  • 2001 Championship: Wood Bat Invitation Tournament
  • 2002 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 2002 Championship: National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 2003 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 2003 Championship: Wood Bat Invitation Tournament
  • 2005 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 2009 Championship: Kamloops, B.C., Canada, International Baseball Tournament
  • 2013 Championship: Barona Bash Invitational Tournament
  • 2013 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 2014 Championship: Alaska Baseball League
  • 2014 7th Place: National Baseball Congress World Series

Notable alumni[edit]

Midnight Sun game[edit]

The players line up before the first pitch of the 2011 Midnight Sun Game.

First held in 1906, the annual Midnight Sun Game is held yearly in Fairbanks, hosted by the Goldpanners. The game, which begins at 10:30 PM on the night of the summer solstice, has gained the attention of international media.

Baseball America declared the game one of the "10 Must-See Baseball Events."[citation needed] In 2005, ESPN spotlighted the game during "50 States in 50 Days."[citation needed] ESPN The Magazine called the event the "#8 Ultimate Baseball Experience."[citation needed] The Sporting News declared that on the 21st of June, "Fairbanks is the Baseball Capitol of America".[citation needed] In 2012, Yankees Magazine declared the game "Baseball's Most Natural Promotion".

Quotes[edit]

"I've been lucky enough to attend many World Series, All-Star Games and Opening Days but the Midnight Sun Game is in a league of its own." – Greg Harris, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

"Everybody should have an opportunity to come to Alaska and see the Midnight Sun Game." – Bobby Doerr, Boston Red Sox alumnus and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer

2017 Roster[edit]

  • Manager: Dave Nakama
  • Pitching Coach: Michael Lopez
  • Assistant Coach: Mike Nantz
  • Pitchers
    • Austin Toerner (RHP)
    • Alex Vesia (LHP)
    • Jordon West (RHP)
    • Michael Hobbs (RHP)
    • Andrew Fernandez (RHP)
    • Ben Keizer (LHP)
    • Jimmy Endersby (RHP)
    • Nick Flesher (LHP)
    • Nick Sparks (LHP)
    • Brandon Langan (LHP)
  • Infielders
    • Paul Kunst
    • JT Arruda
    • Nick Ames
    • Mason Martin
    • Jordan Ross
  • Outfielders
    • Mitch Berryhill
    • Colin King
    • Rafe Chaumette
    • Tyler Heinrichs
    • Jake Hazard

External links[edit]