Top row, from left: Gus Knickrehm, Beau Mills, Matt Stevens, Chris Schwinden, Chris Kissock, Tyler Cheney, Jake Hower, Brad Schwarzenbach, Richard Knutz ; Middle row, from left: Elliot Strankman, Joe Persichina, Geoff Byrns, Brian Bird, Jessie Mier, Kevin Hernandez, Chu Yuan Chin, Will Morgan ; Bottom row, from left: Mai Chia-Yi, Jovanny Bramasco, Chris Fox, Mark Thompson, Wu Cheng-Hsien, Mike Lissman, Shao-Bai Lan
2006: PannerBlog • Schedule • Statistics • Personnel • Roster - Ed Cheff, Elliott Strankman, Gus Knickrehm | Dixon Allen, Brian Bird, Jovanny Bramasco, Geoff Byrns, Tyler Cheney, Chu Yuan-Chin, Joey Dunn, Chris Kissock, Lan Shao-Bai, Mike Lissman, Mai Chia-Yi, Jordan Mayer, Jessie Mier, Beau Mills, Will Morgan, Joe Persichina, Matt Rasmussen, Brad Schwarzenbach, Matt Stevens, Mark Thompson, Wu Cheng-Hsien | 2006 Team Baseball Card Set | All-Time Roster • All-Time Lineups
COLORFUL TEAM FALLS SHORT
The 2006 Goldpanners, always battling hard on the field regardless of the situation, provided many exciting ballgames. And though often seeming to come up just short in the final tally, they were always in the running until the very end. Such was the case in twelve losses by two runs or less, and so it was in the ABL race overall. After the last out was recorded, the team finished in fourth place, with a 16-19 league record.
An unfortunate string of key injuries was responsible for much of the lost potential, taking the best of the team’s hitters out of action. As a result, the Goldpanners were chronically understaffed at the key positions in the field, and at the key spots in the lineup with runners on base.
Despite the record, however, there were many high points in 2006. Veteran Panners Mark Thompson and Sean Timmons both set all-time team records - Mark with 26 times hit by pitch in one season, and Sean with 273 strikeouts over an entire career, passing Brent Strom.
Another high point was the club’s signing of four native Taiwanese ballplayers - Lan Shao-Bai, Mai Chia-Yi, Wu Cheng-Hsien, and the batsman Chu Yuan-Chin, who collected the game-winning RBI in the 100th Anniversary Midnight Sun Game.
Naturally, the biggest positive to emerge out of the 2006 season is Beau Mills.. who simply has taken the game of baseball to a whole new level. Though slowed in his Panner career due to injury, his game brought glimpses of a bygone era when ballplayers were more than mere mortals. Having followed Coach Cheff to Lewis-Clark State, Beau socked 38 home runs to become the all-time NAIA home run champion, hitting three dingers in the national championship game alone. (see page 31) Regarded as the best college bat taken in the MLB draft, Beau doesn’t seem at all out of place with the likes of those athletes who went straight to the major leagues following their Fairbanks careers.
In retrospect, it appears that perhaps the biggest story of 2006 was Ed Cheff coaching in his final season at the head of a Goldpanners team. In addition to having won four championships in his five years at Fairbanks, Ed’s mastery of all aspects of the game, and his committment to the athletes’ lives on and off the field, personified the organization’s committment to offering its players second-to-none coaching support from which to draw. There really is no way to overstate the importance of Coach Ed Cheff when it comes to the positive impact he has on his ballteams’ national and international reputations."
7/12/6: 2006: Sean Timmons (94-98-99-00-01-02-03-04-05-06) Sean Timmons sets strikeout record in Panners win "Timmons caught Fire left fielder Steve Shaver looking at a pitch on the outside part of the plate at Growden Memorial Park to tally his 274th career strikeout, passing Brent Strom on the all-time list. “Ten years to do it,” said Timmons who first toed the rubber for the Panners in 1994 and is pitching in his 10th season. “It’s nice. It wasn’t pretty, but hey I got it done. I don’t gotta worry about it anymore.”
7/10/6: Panner bats too much for Fire "It’s nice seeing our team come together like it is,” said Panners designated hitter Beau Mills, who drove in two of the Panners runs. “It’s nice, you know, going through a little struggle and seeing the team come together and gel together.”
7/7/6: Hernandez sharp as Panners top Bucs - Kevin Hernandez’s right arm did most of the work Thursday night at Growden Memorial Park, but his legs assured the Alaska Goldpanners of a 3-1 victory over the Anchorage Bucs in the Alaska Baseball League game. With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Bucs left fielder Chris Raber grounded Hernandez’s full-count pitch toward Goldpanners first baseman Geoff Byrns. Hernandez outsprinted Raber to collect Byrns’ toss and tag the bag for the final out, giving Hernandez a 4-0 record after his first complete game of the season. “It kept the blood flowing,'’ Hernandez said of his sprint to first base."
6/30/6: MSG: Midnight Games (Sporting News) - "Fairbanks, Alaska, requires toughness. Living on the 65th parallel, you don’t exactly spend time thinking about how the petunias are coming along. The average high temperature in January is 2-below. Extension cords dangle out of car grills, and most parking spaces are equipped with electrical outlets. That’s because if you parked for a few hours during an Alaska winter without plugging in, your engine would become an Ice Pop."
6/26/6: MSG: Baseball at midnight? Only in Alaska (Miami Herald) - ‘’It was weird,'’ said Brad Arnsberg, a former Marlins pitching coach, of the Midnight Sun experience. “You had to have foil on your bedroom windows just to keep the light from jumping in when you were trying to sleep. I remember, unfortunately, walking out of a couple of bars at three or four in the morning and it was broad daylight. It was kind of an odd feeling.'’
6/26/6: Timmons, Mier combine to pace Goldpanners win - "Sean Timmons, the winningest pitcher in Goldpanners history, pitched seven solid innings to add another victory to his laurels and catcher Jessie Mier belted a three-run homer that snapped a 3-3 tie as the Goldpanners downed the Anchorage Bucs 10-3 before an appreciative gathering at Growden Memorial Park. Cheff (Goldpanner manager Ed Cheff) made it a point to say that we needed to do things differently,” Mier said of the Goldpanners’ offensive turnaround. “He just re-emphasized in a strong way the things that needed to be done in order for us to have success,” said Mier, who plays under Cheff’s direction at NAIA champion Lewis-Clark State in Idaho. “The main thing was that we needed to be more selective instead of chasing pitches.”
6/23/6: Panners erupt to win ABL opener - "The Alaska Goldpanners opened league play with a bang, routing the Athletes in Action Fire, 16-3 Friday night at Growden Memorial Park. The Panners (1-0 ABL, 6-3 overall) used three big innings and a solid pitching performance from starter Kevin Hernandez to spoil the Fire’s (1-3 ABL, 3-5 overall) first game in Fairbanks this season."
6/21/6: Midnight Sun Game tonight "Unless they get serious about baseball in Scandinavia or some other place near the Arctic Circle, Fairbanks will continue to have the market on games under the Midnight Sun just as it has for the past century. “It’s unique. We’re the only people that have it,” said Don Dennis, the Alaska Goldpanners’ general manager since 1968. “Nobody else can do it.”
6/19/6: Panners salvage split with Birds - "Mark Thompson made several spectacular plays on grounders deep in the hole at shortstop and registered six assists. He also stole two bases, reached base three times and scored a run, while Chu Yuan-Chin and Jovanny Bramasco had RBI hits in the third inning as the Goldpanners improved to 4-1."
6/17/6: Davidson has big night for Panners "Davidson was recommended to Cheff by former Alaska manager Jim Dietz, now a high school baseball coach in Oregon. Davidson worked out late in the season with the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team in Lewiston, Idaho, which Cheff coaches and recently guided to its 14th NAIA national championship."
6/16/6: Byrns and Dunn propel Panners - "the Goldpanners’ 13-5 romp at Growden Memorial Park showed it was a stroke of genius for him to have Geoff Byrns batting in the No. 3 spot and Joey Dunn hitting right behind him. The two combined for six hits, six runs batted in and five runs scored."
6/15/6: Panners get off to fast start against Stars - "With barely half the team having arrived in Fairbanks, head coach Ed Cheff was hesitant to offer an assessment of this year’s team. The 2005 squad went 39-12 overall and dominated the Alaska Baseball League with a 28-6 record. “It’s pretty hard to make an evaluation for about a week,” said Cheff, last year’s ABL Coach of the Year, who arrived in Fairbanks on Monday."
6/13/6: Players from Taiwan ready to join Panners - "The Panners aren’t changing uniforms and the coaching staff remains intact, but four of the new players on this year’s team are from Taiwan and attend college at the Taiwan National College of Physical Education. Whiile none of the four speak much English, Dennis said that coach Ed Cheff isn’t anticipating any communication problems. “Coach Cheff’s plan is for them to learn English baseball terms and have the rest of the guys learn to speak Taiwanese for the social aspects,” Dennis said."
MARK THOMPSON (05-06) &
SEAN TIMMONS (94-8-9-00-1-2-3-4-5-6)
MIDNIGHT SUN GAME
MARK THOMPSON (05-06)
| SEAN TIMMONS (94-8-9-00-1-2-3-4-5-6) |
CAREER STRIKEOUT RECORD (283)
MIDNIGHT SUN GAME PICTURES
Pictures by Sheena Cummings
Pictures by E. Chilton Hines
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