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Goldpanners Put Fairbanks on International Stage

"The Goldpanners were the first to put Fairbanks on the sporting map."


Albert Strane sliding in against Kumagai-Gumi during the 1967 Midnight Sun Game

2003 NBC Tournament

After Defeat of Taipei Olympic Team




1968 JAPANESE YEARBOOK



Haarlem, Holland, Baseball Tournament (Haarlemse Honkbalweek)





 


 

 

The Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks organization is pleased to be a high-profile not-for-profit civic organization in the city of Fairbanks. Throughout the history of the program, it has also proudly served as a representative of the Golden Heart City to the rest of the world. At a time when little at all was known of Fairbanks (apart from the aviation exploits of men such as Joe Crosson, Noel Wien and Howard Hughes), the Goldpanners burst onto the national scene with an unlikely Cinderella showing at the 1962 NBC World Series in Wichita, Kansas.

This novelty of being from the newly minted State of Alaska, in addition to the high level of play on the field, resulted in the Goldpanners developing an almost cult-like following in the 60s and 70s.  These days, the club's fame has spread across the nation  (including in Grand Junction, Colorado, where current General Manager Don Dennis first heard of the Goldpanners ballclub in late June of 1963), allowing it to represent the uniquely Alaskan culture, weather, and history that is to be found in Fairbanks' Tanana Valley.  With the fame of the Midnight Sun Game reaching newspapers around the world, the clubs profile rose to heights unparalleled by any other Alaskan sports team.

The Goldpanners first met a team from outside the 50 states in 1965 against Nassau, Bahamas, in the National Baseball Congress Tournament. 

The Panners made a huge splash on the international scene in 1966 when Red Boucher took the team to Honolulu to represent the United States in the World Crown Tournament and shocked the reigning champion, Japan, in two straight games in the best-of-three showdown.  The Goldpanners also won the Hawaiian Invitational Tournament while on the island.

In 1968, when anti-Communist tensions still ran at their peak, the Goldpanners were called upon to represent America by taking on the Cuban National Team. That same year, an eight-city tour of Japan provided yet another opportunity for the Goldpanners to present the best face for America to the rest of the world. USA Baseball officials discussed plans to organize the Panners into a post-season USA National Team, travelling to far-flung destinations as official ambassadors of the country.

 The first meeting with a professional team from outside the U.S. came in 1974 when the Panners knocked off the Cordoba Cafeteros of Mexico in the Kamloops International Tournament in Kamloops, British Columbia.

In 2005, two Taiwanese ballplayers joined the team for the NBC Tournament, pitcher Sung-Wei Tseng and infielder Sheng Wei-Wang -- both of whom were members of the Tapei National Team that participated in the World Baseball Classic that spring. In 2006, the Goldpanners continued the international relationship by inviting four members from the two major colleges of physical education in Tapiei.

The 2009 season saw the Alaska Goldpanners return to the Kamloops (B.C.) International Baseball Tournament - a tournament they had won more than any other team.    The club made a huge splash by winning three games on the final day, including the championship matchup with the Everett Merchants.  The Goldpanners are expected to make a return visit in 2011, under the leadership of College Baseball Hall of Fame coach Jim Dietz.

ALL-TIME INTERNATIONAL WIN/LOSS

 

BAHAMAS
Nassau Islanders 1 0
   
CUBA
Cuba National Team 0 2
   
CHINA
Chinese Culture University 1 0
Chinese-Taipei Olympic Team 2 3
Chinese-Taipei University Games Team 1 0
Fubon Bulls 2 1
   
GUAM
   
Continental Jets 2 0
   
JAPAN
   
Aichi League All-Stars 3 0
Hammamatsu All-Stars 0 1
Hemeji All-Stars 1 0
Hiroshima College Stars 1 0
Kansai Big 6 1 0
Keio University Unicorns 1 1
Kumagai-Gumi 9 2
Nagoya All Stars 1 0
Okayama All-Stars 1 1
Submitomo Metal 0 1
Tokyo All-Stars 0 1
Tokyo Big Six All-Stars 0 1
   
KOREA
 
Korea National Team 1 3 / 1T
(10-Inning Tie)
Inha University  1 0
   
MEXICO
 
Baja Select Team 1 0
Cordoba Cafeteros  1 0
Mexico Olympic Team 1 0
   
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES
 
Antilles A Select Team 1 0
   
NICARAGUA
 
Nicaragua National Team 1 1
   
CANADA
 
Binscarth, Manitoba, Orioles 2 0
Calgary, Alberta, Jimmies 2 0
Coquiltam, B.C., A's 1 1
Edmonton, Alberta, Tigers 2 0
Kamloops, B.C., Okonots 1 0
Kelowna, B.C., Grizzles 10 8
Red Deer, Alberta, M&K Generals 8 4
Regina, Saskatchewan, Red Sox 1 0
Unity, Saskatchewan, Cardinals 0 1
Vancouver, B.C., All-Stars 4 0
Vancouver, B.C., Auroras 1 1
Western Canadian Players 1 0
   
UKRAINE
 
Ukraine National Team 1 0

 

INTERNATIONAL HISTORY

August 1965 Goldpanners play Nassau, Bahamas, Islanders in National Baseball Congress Tournament in Wichita, KS.
August 1966 Goldpanners take part with several foreign teams and win Hawaiian Invitational Tournament.  Japan, the reigning World Champion, then meets the Goldpanners in a best-of-three World Tournament.  Goldpanners win Word Tournament in two straight games.
June 1967 Kumagai-Gumi, the reigning Japanese Amateur Champions, come to Alaska for an eight-game goodwill series in Fairbanks and Anchorage.  The Goldpanners win seven of the eight, losing only in the Midnight Sun Game before an Alaska outdoor sports record crowd of 5,200.
August 1968 Goldpanners embark on a 17-day, 7-city goodwill tour of Japan.  Games are played in Nagoya, Hammamtsu, Hemeji, Okayama, Submitomo and Tokyo.
July 1972 Goldpanners take part in the Haarlem, Holland, Baseball Tournament (Haarlemse Honkbalweek), featuring undisputed World Champion Cuba.  Panners lose twice to Cuba, but force Cubans to squeeze in winning run in eighth inning in 5-4 setback.  Panners post a win over Nicaragua, the world's No. 3 team.
August 1973 Goldpanners win the first of four Kamloops International Baseball Tournament championships at B.C., Canada.  Canada, Mexico and United States teams take part.
August 1974 Goldpanners repeat as winners in Kamloops International Baseball Tournament .
August 1975 Goldpanners capture third straight championship of Kamloops International Baseball Tournament .
August 1976 Goldpanners are handed title of the Kamloops International Baseball Tournament for an unprecedented four-year title run.
June 1977 Goldpanners host Red Deer M&K Generals (Alberta, CA) in the Midnight Sun Series
August 1977 Goldpanners retain title in Kamloops International Baseball Tournament
August 1978 Goldpanners host Team USA, Western Canada, Chinese Culture University and Korean National Team in World Crown Tournament.  Nicaragua cancels when Batista regime overthrown. Baseball squad in plane on airport tarmac in Managua when given orders to discontinue trip.
July 1979 Goldpanners vie in second World Crown Tournament which features Korean National Team and Taiwan Olympic Team.
June 1984 Goldpanners host Taiwan Olympic Team in the Midnight Sun Series
August 1987 Goldpanners take part in Hawaii International Tournament and finish second in tourney featuring several foreign teams.
August 1988 Goldpanners finish second among several foreign teams at Hawaii International Tournament in then win U.S. Open tournament, featuring teams from Mexico, Guam and Netherlands Antilles.
August 1989 Goldpanners take part in U.S. Open Tournament with Mexico teams.
August 1990 Goldpanners in U.S. Open featuring foreign teams.  Gary Wilson throws a perfect game against the Mexico Olympic Team.
August 1991 Goldpanners finish second in U.S. Open Tournament featuring Mexico teams.
August 1993 Goldpanners meet first team from Soviet Union, the Ukraine National Team, en route to second place finish in Grand National Tournament in San Diego.
July 1994 Aichi Collegiate League All-Stars of Nagoya, Japan, visit Fairbanks for three-game series.  Also, Goldpanners topple Nagoya in semi-final game of Bucs' Alaska Tournament in Anchorage.
July 1995 Goldpanners host Korean Olympic team for series in Fairbanks.
July 1996 Goldpanners participate in Kelowna International Baseball Tournament in British Columbia.
June 1997 Goldpanners host Kelowna, B.C., Canada Grizzlies for the Midnight Sun Series.
June 1998 Goldpanners host Kelowna, B.C., Canada Grizzlies for the Midnight Sun Series.
August 2003 The Goldpanners beat the Taipei Olympic Team 4-3 during the NBC tournament in Wichita, KS.
June 2005 Two Goldpanners hosted the Fubon Bulls from Taiwan at Growden Park.
August 2005 Two members of the Taipei National Team joined the Goldpanners for the NBC tournament.
Summer 2006 The Goldpanners fielded four players taken from two of the major colleges in Taipei.
November 2008 1983 Goldpanners catcher Don Wakamatsu became the first Asian-American manager in MLB history.
July 2009 The Midnight Sun Goldpanners barnstorm through Canada on their way to playing in the 75th National Baseball Congress World Series.   Win sixth championship in the Kamloops International Baseball Tournament in British Columbia.
July 2011 The Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks barnstormed through Canada en route to the Kamloops International Baseball Tournament.
Gene Delyon Beats the Tag of Cuban National Team First Baseman

Game Played at a Time When the United States Wouldn't Compete Against Team Cuba