1975 Roster | Jim Dietz • Bud Hollowell • Ed Olsen // Gary Armstrong • Dave Baker • Floyd Bannister • Alan Belasco • Ralph Billings • Pat Corcoran • Jeff Ellison • Greg Harris • Tracy Harris • John Hoscheidt • Frank Hunsaker • Steve Kemp • Marty Kunkler • Dennis Littlejohn • Mark Naehring • Grant O'Dell • Gary Rajcich • Pete Redfern • Larry Reynolds • Bruce Robinson • Harry Rose • Dennis Sandoval • Dave Schuler • Dave Smith • Ron Smith • Wayne Steele • Doug Stokke • Clarence Syers • Thad Troedson • Chick Valley • Tom Vessey • Dartt Wagner • Steve Whitehead • Steve Wilkens • Mike Williamson • John Yandle | All-Time Roster • All-Time Lineups
12/18/8: Dave Smith (75-76) Dave Smith remembered for his generosity | Baseball loses one of its true good guys Former Astros reliever Dave Smith was a giving person, and he made sure his younger teammates learned to value others as they adjusted to life in the majors. Smith’s name is atop or near the top of several of the Astros’ relief categories. But as his former teammates coped with his death Wednesday, they didn’t talk about his 199 saves for the Astros or his team records for appearances (562), relief wins (53), relief innings (760) or most games finished (400). Instead, Smith’s friends and former teammate remembered the former San Diego State pitcher’s generous nature and cool California demeanor after he died of a heart attack Wednesday at age 53.
PANNERS JUST MISS PRIZE IN '75
The 1975 Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks won the Alaska World Series, once again captured the Canada International Tournament, breezed into the NBC Far West Regional, put together a 17-game winning streak, racked up 51 victories but couldn't quite climb into the national championship winner's circle for the record fourth straight year.
Following national championship seasons in 1972, 1973 and 1974, the 1975 edition of Goldpanners played under extreme pressure throughout the season. Once in the nationals they plowed through all opposition except the pesky Boulder, Colo., Collegians -- who were managed by 1978-79-80-81-82 Goldpanners field manager Ben Hines.
With the Panners and Bouler the only unbeatens in the double-elimination event, the Collegians wiped out a 5-4 deficit to post an 8-5 win. Then when the Panners received another shot at Boulder after dusting off arch-rival Anchorage, the Collegians rallied for four runs in the eighth inning to secure a 6-4 victory and end the Panners' reign.
Individual highlight of the year was the record-shattering play of outfielder Steve Kemp, who became the No. 1 draft choice in the professional selection held in January of 1975.
Kemp rewrote Goldpanner record books as he fashioned a second terrific season with the club. In 1974 Kemp swatted 13 home runs as he batted a team record .425 on the season. In 1975 he hit .391 but blasted 20 round trippers. His career marks of 33 home runs and a .406 batting average are both team records. In fact, the old single season batting mark was .405, set by Bob Boone in 1968, and Kemp bettered that over two seasons.
The hard-hitting left-fielder twice made the NBC All-American Team with the Panners and had earlier been accorded that honor while with the Liberal, Kan., BeeJays. He was the most valuable player of the 1974 national tourney.
The oddity of Kemp's greatness is that he missed several weeks of both seasons as he went on tour with the United States All-Stars in their annual series with Japan's best. No telling what staggering totals he may have racked up had he put in another five weeks with the club over the course of those two years.
Jeff Ellison also had a second super year as he hit .360 to follow up his .328 effort in 74. Possibly the biggest surprise was the hitting of catcher Doug Jenkins of Miami of Ohio. Jenkins hit a robust .350 and blasted 13 doubles and 9 home runs.
Four pitchers - Floyd Bannister, Pete Redfern, Dave Smith, and Tracy Harris -- compiled the awesome record of 30 wins, 2 losses, and 7 saves to lead the mound staff, which fashioned a 3.47 earned-run-average -- a good figure since the arrival of the aluminum bat.
Catcher Dennis Littlejohn was name most valuable player of the NBC Regional in Pueblo, Colo., and left-hander John Yandle was tabbed as the outstanding pitcher in the Canada International Tournament.
1975 PLAYERS WITH BASEBALL CARDS
2002 Bonus Card Set
1975 Team Executives
The day to day operation of the Alaska Goldpanners is handled by Don Dennis, who has been with the club since the latter part of 1967 when he moved to Fairbanks from Colorado. Dennis serves as general manager of the club and in that capacity is responsible for all pre-season preparations and off the field activities year round. The 35-year old Dennis, who doubles as editor of the Fairbanks Daily News Miner, this year was honored as the first National Baseball Congress "Executive of the Year" at the organization's annual banquet in February in Wichita, Kan., home of the national tournament. Dennis came to Fairbanks as business manager of the team in 1967 following the disastrous Fairbanks flood, which put the financial condition of the team in disarray. The team has since moved into the black and now operates on a $141,000 budget, nearly three times that of the mid 1960's. In addition to the Goldpanners Dennis is extremely active in Fairbanks sports circles. He serves as Executive Director of the Boys Club of Fairbanks; promotes and does the color work on University of Alaska basketball broadcasts; previously served for three years as the sports information director at the University of Alaska ; serves on the Board of Directors of the Fairbanks Quarterback Club ; is a league officer in both the Babe Ruth and America Legion baseball programs; served as tournament director of the 1975 Multiple Sclerosis Alaska Basketball Tournament of Champions; directed operations of the Fairbanks Amateur Basketball League during the 1974-75 season ; serves on the Board of Directors of the North Star Little Dribblers basketball association ; helped organize the highly successful University of Alaska Blue & Gold Club and on and on. For his efforts, Dennis was recognized as the Fairbanks "Sportsman of the year" in 1973 by the Fairbanks Quarterback Club. Previous to joining the Goldpanners in 1967 Dennis had worked three years with the Grand Junction, Colo. Eagles as business manager and in other capacities, and in 1967 he founded the Southern Colorado Diablos of Pueblo, the forerunner of the Olympia Brewers team which appears on the Goldpanners' 1975 schedule.
PLAYERS TO MLB
ALL-TIME RECORDS AND MENTIONS: