Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks

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.

Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks
Information
LocationFairbanks, Alaska
BallparkGrowden Memorial Park
Founded1960
Nickname(s)'Panners
League championshipsNBC (1972–1974, 1976, 1980, 2002)
Alaska (1961–1968, 1970, 1972–1975, 1978–1984, 1986, 1991, 1994–1995, 2002–2003, 2005, 2013–2014)
Former league(s)Western Baseball Association (1967)
Big West Conference (1970–1971)
Alaska Baseball League (1974–2015)
ColorsBlue, Gold, Red
OwnershipAlaska Goldpanner Baseball, Inc (non-profit)
ManagerMiles Kizer
General ManagerJohn Lohrke
PresidentAbram Siddall
Websitehttp://www.goldpanners.com

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

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

From 1970 to 1972, the Goldpanners were a member of the Big West Conference, along with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, Humboldt Crabs, Grand Junction Eagles, and Bellingham Bells. In 1967, the Goldpanners were in the inaugural Western Baseball Association with Humboldt, Grand Junction, Bellingham, and the Santa Rosa Rosebuds.

In 1974, the Goldpanners were founding members of the Alaska Baseball League.[1]

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]

The Goldpanners played the 2011 season with a shortened independent schedule due to financial difficulties.[2]

The Goldpanners announced in September 2015 that they were leaving the league and would instead play a barnstorming schedule so that they would be available to play in the National Baseball Congress championship game which is held before the end of the ABL season; this decision angered representatives of the ABL, who threatened not to let the team back into the league.[2][1] Alaska baseball writer Rick Boots attempted to mediate an agreement twice to reconcile the Goldpanners and the ABL in 2018 and 2019, but at least one team refused to consider the notion and three others raised multiple concerns about readmitting the team, among them travel expenses.[3] In 2020, they applied to rejoin the league for the 2021 season and were denied, as the league was not in the financial position to take on the extra expense at the time, with the ABL stating the team would be welcome to reapply in 2022.[1] The team again applied for re-entry into the ABL in 2023 but were rejected for unclear reasons.[3]


League and Tournament Wins

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  • 1960 North of the Range League
  • 1961 North of the Range League
  • 1961 Alaska Regional NBC Tournament
  • 1962 North of the Range League
  • 1962 Alaska Regional NBC Tournament
  • 1962 Alaska Regional NBC Tournament
  • 1964 Alaska Regional NBC Tournament
  • 1966 Hawaii International baseball tournament
  • 1966 World baseball tournament
  • 1970 Alaska Baseball League
  • 1970 Big West Conference Tournament
  • 1972 Alaska Baseball League
  • 1972 National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1973 Alaska World Series
  • 1973 National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1974 Kamloops, B.C., International Baseball Tournament
  • 1974 National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1974 Kamloops, B.C., International Baseball Tournament
  • 1975 Kamloops, B.C., International Baseball Tournament
  • 1976 National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1976 Kamloops, B.C., International Baseball Tournament
  • 1977 Kamloops, B.C., International Baseball Tournament
  • 1978 Alaska Baseball League
  • 1979 Alaska Baseball League
  • 1980 Alaska Baseball League
  • 1980 National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 1981 Alaska Baseball League
  • 1982 Alaska Baseball League
  • 1983 Alaska Baseball League
  • 1984 Alaska Baseball League
  • 1986 Alaska Baseball League Pacific Division
  • 1988 U.S. Open Baseball Tournament - Tahoe
  • 1990 U.S. Open Baseball Tournament - Ontario
  • 1991 Alaska Baseball League
  • 1993 Alaska Federation
  • 1994 Alaska Baseball League
  • 1994 Alaska baseball tournament
  • 1995 Alaska Federation
  • 1995 Alaska Baseball League
  • 1996 Hawaii International Baseball Tournament
  • 2001 Wood Bat Invitation Tournament
  • 2002 Alaska Baseball League
  • 2002 National Baseball Congress World Series
  • 2003 Alaska Baseball League
  • 2003 Wood Bat Invitation Tournament
  • 2005 Alaska Baseball League
  • 2009 Kamloops, B.C., International Baseball Tournament
  • 2013 Barona Bash Invitational Tournament
  • 2013 Alaska Baseball League
  • 2014 Alaska Baseball League
  • 2019 Grand Forks International Baseball Tournament

Notable alumni

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Midnight Sun game

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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

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"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 S. 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

2022 roster

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  • Manager: Mark Lindsay
  • Assistant Coaches: Ryan Handon, Marcus Mastrobuoni and Jake Taylor
  • Pitchers
    • RJ Aranda
    • Ian Torpey
    • Corey Braun
    • Garrett Cooper
    • Nolan Meredith
    • Raymond Padilla
    • Matthew Pinal
    • Ethan Remmers
    • Logan Smith
    • Andrew Troppmann
    • Steven Vazquez
    • Kegan Wentz
  • Catchers
    • Rafael Flores
    • Brock Rudy
    • Issac Schuck
  • Infielders
    • Cole Alexander
    • Alex Garcia
    • Griffin Harrison
    • Caleb Millikan
    • Marty Munoz
    • Tate Shimao
    • Dalton Sloniger
  • Outfielders
    • Cayden Clark
    • Dominic Hughes
    • Brock Kleszcz
    • Sean Rimmer

References

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  1. ^ a b c Bragg, Beth (September 27, 2020). "Alaska Baseball League denies Goldpanners bid to rejoin the league but leaves the door open for 2022". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 18 July 2022.
  2. ^ a b Bragg, Beth (September 30, 2015). "Goldpanners won't play in ABL next summer". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 18 July 2022.
  3. ^ a b Boots, Rick (2022-11-10). "Alaska collegiate summer baseball — Divided we fall". Peninsula Clarion. Retrieved 2023-06-21.
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