- Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
- League: Alaska Baseball League 1974-2010; 2012-2015
- Stadium: Growden Memorial Park
Founded in 1960 as an independent barnstorming team, the Pan-Alaska Goldpanners became charter members of the Alaska Baseball League at the league's inception in 1974. As the nation's most elite Summer Collegiate Baseball team, the Goldpanners play their home games at Growden Memorial Park in Fairbanks, AK. They also host the annual Midnight Sun Baseball Game, one of the most quirky and unique games in all of baseball.
Dozens of future major leaguers have played for the Goldpanners (see below).
Like other Summer Collegiate Baseball teams, the Alaska Goldpanner of Fairbanks are dedicated and designed to providing minor league level competition for NCAA players that wish to continue on into professional baseball. The Goldpanners operate in a similar manner to a minor league team: playing nightly in stadiums before fans, using wood bats and minor league specification equipment, and experiencing road trips between games. Like all other summer collegiate players, they are unpaid in order to maintain their NCAA eligibility, and live with host families in the same manner as Single A and Independent League players.
The Alaska Goldpanners gained fame worldwide in the early 1960s as runners-up in the 1962 National Baseball Congress World Series. The curiosity of being the only team from the Last Frontier endeared them to many in the Lower 48, giving them almost cult status among baseball fans. However, when the Anchorage Glacier Pilots were founded in the 1969, the Goldpanners became one of two teams from the state of Alaska. Officially, the team became the "Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks" in 1963. Within the ABL, and in television and newspaper coverage throughout the state, the Goldpanners are referred to as the "Fairbanks Goldpanners". Outside the state of Alaska they are still commonly known as the "Alaska Goldpanners".
Over the years, the club has amassed numerous distinctions. Besides the unprecedented number of tournament championships, the Goldpanners stand alone in amateur baseball history in a number of categories of interest. With alumni involved in all levels of baseball (and with representation in NFL football in the person of Dan Pastorini), Goldpanners are to be found throughout the sporting world. In 2008, former Goldpanner Bill "Spaceman" Lee returned to Fairbanks to avenge a loss in the 1967 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."
On July 5, 2009, the Goldpanners embarked on one of their most ambitious projects ever: barnstorming across two provinces in Canada and 10 states in America as a part of the "Alaska 50 Tour". On July 12th, the Fairbanks split squad, known as the "Midnight Sun Goldpanners", took the crown at the Kamloops International Baseball Tournament. Their final destination was the ceremonial opening game for the 75th National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, KS.
First held in 1906, the annual Midnight Sun Game is held yearly in Fairbanks, AK and hosted by the Alaska Goldpanners. The game, which begins at 10:30 PM on the night of the summer solstice, has gained the attention of international media, and is one of the oddest and most unique features of baseball the world over.
In 2008, Bill "Spaceman" Lee avenged his loss in the 1967 contest by defeating the Southern California Running Birds 10-6. Bill started the game and delivered 6+ innings of successful work on the mound at age 62.
Baseball America declared the game one of the "10 Must-See Baseball Events." In 2005, ESPN spotlighted the game during "50 States in 50 Days." ESPN The Magazine called the event the "#8 Ultimate Baseball Experience." The Sporting News declared that on the 21st of June, "Fairbanks is the Baseball Capital of America". GQ Magazine dubbed the Midnight Sun Game one of the top 75 reasons to be proud to be an American.
On the Midnight Sun Game:
"The only place on earth where a midnight ball game is played. The custom originated here many years ago and is faithfully observed." 6/20/1914, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
"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 it's own." Greg Harris, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
"What began nearly 100 years ago on a bet between two local bars has evolved into one of baseball’s unique natural events. The Midnight Sun Game, played in Fairbanks on the summer solstice every year since 1906, is played in the middle of the night with only natural light." - Baseball America's 12 'Must-See' Events
"Everybody should have an opportunity to come to Alaska and see the Midnight Sun Game" Bobby Doerr, MLB Hall of Famer
On the Goldpanners program:
"I played with the Alaska Goldpanners, which has a lot of history with good ballplayers, so that looked good to a lot of scouts. Players like Tom Seaver and Bob Boone played up there before me. It was nice playing up there, a honor because so many great ballplayers played there." Harold Reynolds (1980)
"I just feel so very grateful to have played for the Goldpanners, and to have been given the opportunity to experience such a number of rewarding times." Bob Boone (1966-1968)
On other topics:
"Nobody in our organization had a harsh word to say about Barry Bonds. He was exemplary and he was just an average college kid. He had a tremendous sense of humor, too." Don Dennis, Goldpanners GM
|1962||24-7||Red Boucher||NBC Runner Up|
|1963||45-12||Red Boucher||NBC 3rd Place|
|1964||33-19||Red Boucher||NBC Runner Up|
|1965||38-19||Red Boucher||NBC 4th Place|
|1967||45-10||Red Boucher||NBC 4th Place|
|1969||38-19||Red Boucher||NBC 4th Place|
|1970||38-19||Lyle Olsen||NBC 4th Place|
|1971||38-19||Jim Dietz||NBC Runner Up|
|1972||40-20||Jim Dietz||NBC Champions|
|1973||49-17||Jim Dietz||NBC Champions|
|1974||60-20||Jim Dietz||NBC Champions|
|1975||51-17||Jim Dietz||NBC Runner Up|
|1976||56-26||Jim Dietz||NBC Champions|
|1977||48-30||Jim Dietz||NBC Runner Up|
|1980||43-9||Ben Hines||NBC Champions|
|1981||26-18||Ben Hines||NBC 4th Place|
|1982||40-17||Ben Hines||NBC 7th Place|
|1983||38-19||Dave Snow||NBC Runner Up|
|1984||42-23||Dave Snow||NBC 3rd Place|
|1985||41-25||Timothy Kelly||NBC 3-2|
|1986||39-23||Mike Weathers||NBC 4th Place|
|2000||28-20||Dan Cowgill||NBC 0-2|
|2002||38-19||Ed Cheff||NBC Champions|
|2003||38-17||Ed Cheff||NBC 6th Place|
|2005||39-12||Ed Cheff||NBC 7th Place|
|2013||35-17-3||Bryan Harris||ABL Champions|
|2014||33-9||Mike Grahovac||NBC 6th Place|
|2016||23-14||Timothy Kelly||NBC Quarter-Final|
|2019||31-12||Miles Kizer||NBC Quarter-Final|
Notable Goldpanners Alumni
- Tom Seaver
- Dave Winfield
- Jason Giambi
- Bill "Spaceman" Lee
- Barry Bonds
- Terry Francona
- Don Wakamatsu
- Dan Pastorini
- Michael Young
- Adam Kennedy
- Bobby Crosby
- Aaron Heilman
- Travis Lee
- Graig Nettles
- Bob Boone
- Andy Messersmith
- Dave Kingman
- Mike Boddicker
- Curt Motton
- Oddibe McDowell
- Shane Mack
- Bret Boone
- Phil Stephenson
- Chuck Brayton
- Jim Dietz
- Floyd Bannister
- Rick Monday
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