Sports Illustrated: 50 States, 50 Rivalries

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The Sporting News
5/11/2009, Vol. 233 Issue 12, p16

 Section: 50 STATES, 50 RIVALRIES

  • First time: 1969
  • All time: Goldpanners lead, 201-157
  • Next time: June 12, 2009

Baseball in Alaska has a little bit of everything for the college players who spend the summer there: wildlife excursions, a Midnight Sun Game and a rivalry with a team 360 miles away. Before Tom Seaver was a Hall of Famer, he pitched for the Goldpanners, who are based in Fairbanks.

You come out of junior college and you’ve never been anywhere in your life, and all of a sudden you’re on a plane going to Alaska. I remember pitching the day I got there and meeting my catcher on the way to the mound.

It was a steppingstone for my career. We had several future big leaguers — Graig Nettles. Rick Monday, Curt Motton and myself.

It was a wonderful experience seeing a part of the world you’ve never seen before. It’s spectacular country. It’s a little scary. I never saw a bear, but I saw a moose right in town.

The guys went fishing one time — the mosquitoes were so bad, we couldn’t close our hands. Gigantic hordes of them. I got back in the truck and rolled the windows up.

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