Alaska Beckons for Gloyd

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By Justin Miller

“He has the unique fit to work summer baseball – Alaska League style,” Dennis said in an e-mail. “The Alaska League is no show league like the Cape Cod has become. It is a down and dirty competition among the cities, and the players get infected with that.”

Yuba College baseball coach Tim Gloyd will go from coaching one gold-plated team to another this summer.

Gloyd, in his 10th season with the 49ers at Yuba, has accepted a position to manage the prestigious Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks, a summer collegiate wood-bat team that plays in the highly respected Alaska Baseball League.

“It’s a great honor. Some of the greatest coaches have worked up there,” Gloyd said.

Some great major league players began their journey to the professional ranks in the league and with the Goldpanners, including Barry Bonds. Hall of Famers Tom Seaver and Dave Winfield played for the team as well.

Gloyd, who reached the triple-A level with the Los Angeles Dodgers, also played for Fairbanks in 1978.

Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona was one of his teammates on the Goldpanners and nine players from that team landed on major league clubs.

“There were 15, 16 or 17 draft picks my year. Pretty amazing,” Gloyd said.

Goldpanners General Manager Don Dennis said Gloyd was a clean-up hitter on the 1978 Alaska League championship team.

Gloyd returned to the Alaska League in 1987 to become an assistant coach with the North Pole Nicks, who won the league championship that year.

Other former Goldpanners that are now starring in the major leagues include the Yankees; Jason Giambi, the A;s Bobby Crosby, the Cubs; Jacque Jones and the Cardinals; Adam Kennedy, just to name a few.

Since its inception in 1960, more than 180 former Goldpanners have climbed to the major leagues, a number that is not challenged by any other summer amateur team, according to the club’s Web site.

I’ll be working with some of the best baseball athletes in the country,” Gloyd said. “I’ve got guys coming in from Fullerton, kids that are going to Long Beach State, U of A (University of Arizona), Indiana State and a couple kids from Lewis and Clark.”

Gloyd takes over for Ed Cheff, who coached the Goldpanners for five seasons and also is the head coach at Lewis and Clark State College. Cheff won three Alaska League titles and a National Baseball Congress World Series title in 2002.

Dennis said Gloyd was his first choice for the job.

“He has the unique fit to work summer baseball – Alaska League style,” Dennis said in an e-mail. “The Alaska League is no show league like the Cape Cod has become. It is a down and dirty competition among the cities, and the players get infected with that.”

“I am extremely excited that Tim was available to take the position. I felt he was the right guy from the moment the position opened.”

The Goldpanners are expected to win, and Gloyd said he is already feeling the pressure to produce.

“Yes I do. I do’t want to go up there and go 10-40 or 10-35,” he said. “They’re expected to win. People expect you to win. They pay me well and they expect me to bring up good players. But I’ll guarantee one thing, we will play hard and do the best that we can.

The Goldpanners have won 70 percent of their games, six NBC titles and 22 Alaska League championships, including seven-year title runs between 1962-68 and 1978-84.

Gloyd’s only major concern is the short time he has to recruit talent, as most of the top-rated college players in the country have been signed by other competitive summer leagues, including the similarly prestigious Cape Cod League.

“I have to find eight pitchers, two outfielders, two middle infielders and two catchers,” Gloyd said. “We’ll have a good team, don’t get me wrong, but we’re just running a little late on it.”

Joining Gloyd’s staff will be his current assistant at Yuba, Clarence Griego, and returning pitching coach Gus Knickrehm of Lewis and Clark.

The highlight of summer ball in Alaska is the Midnight Sun Game played on the longest day of the year.

Gloyd will coach in the 102nd Midnight Sun Game on June 21, with the first pitch scheduled for 10:30 p.m.

The Goldpanners have not lost the game in 14 straight seasons.

“They get very excited about it (the Alaska League) and the fans are great,” Gloyd said. “Sometimes during the Midnight Sun Game they draw 3,000 to 4,000 people”

Gloyd played his college ball at Sacramento City College and then at Pepperdine University, where his team finished third at the College World Series and he was selected as an All-American. He broke the World Series stolen base record, swiping eight bags in five games and led the nation in stolen bases in 1979.

He was drafted in the first round by the Dodgers while attending Sac City and two more times – in the sixth round by the Cardinals and the seventh round by the Dodgers -while at Pepperdine.

He has coached at Pepperdine, was a player/coach with Sicma Impianti in Italy, an assistant coach at L.A. Valley junior college and coached 10 years at Sacramento State, where the Hornets won two Div. II World Series titles. He also coached the professional Independent League Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox in 2002.

“This is something I’d like to do every summer,” Gloyd said about coaching in Alaska. “I’m getting to teach these athletes whose goal is to play in the big leagues. … These are kids that work out 10 hours a week and lift and run all the time. They live and breathe this. People strive to get up to play here or in the Cape.

It’s an honor.”


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