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2002 Season: 43th Season • 97th MSG • Stats • Results • Pictures • Roster: Ed Cheff • Brandon Averill • Justin Azze • Zak Basch • Tyler Best • Chad Corona • J.P. Gagne • Blake Gill • Ryan Haag • Mike Hofius • Todd Jennings • Marc Kaiser • Clay Johnson • Mike Moat • Tim Montgomery • Tony Perez • Chad Redfern • Brendan Ryan • Ryan Schroyer • Sean Timmons • Kevin Welch • Chris Zachgo | 2002 Baseball Cards | All-Time Roster • All-Time Lineups
Goldpanners Celebrated 30th Anniversary of Championship Run With Championship Run
BY TODD DENNIS
The Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks celebrated the team's 43rd summer season in 2002 by winning the NBC World Series in Wichita, Kansas. The double-elimination National Baseball Congress Tournament is considered the world championship of summer baseball. No team has dominated the tournament over its 70+ years of operation like the Goldpanners, who have taken the title a record six times. Following the championship game, Bob Lutz of the Wichita Eagle-Beacon referred to the Panners as "the Yankees of the NBC."
Exactly thirty years prior, the Goldpanners won their first of three consecutive NBC championships. In 2003, the Panners will be attempting to repeat as world series champions in an effort to repeat the title trifecta of 1972-73-74. The 2003 Goldpanners roster is filled with the right materials to succeed on this quest.
Fairbanks fans are sure to be thrilled by the winning team assembled for this season. The roster is filled with current and future baseball standouts. Slated to return are outfielder/pitcher Tony Perez, infielder Ryan Haag, and the all-time first Fairbanksan to win the coveted Panner Most Valuable Pitcher award, Sean Timmons. Sean also became the first local product to win of the Midnight Sun Game, after pitching to a complete game victory last season. Scott Robinson is also scheduled to return, though he will likely sign a professional contract with the Houston Astros.
The incoming infield is sure to create a lot of excitement among fans of fast games. Joining the veteran Haag in the field will be phenom Derek Bruce of Washington State, Jeff Culpepper of Gonzaga, and Frank Mesa, who stars in the Arizona State infield. Scott Robinson may occupy the first base position if he makes it to Alaska.
Outfielding in the 2003 season will be well handled by veteran Tony Perez who may return to left, with support from Jake McLintock of San Diego State, and Aaron Matthews of Oregon State University. Nick Blasi of Wichita State, and Nick Walsh of Arizona State will be on hand to provide support.
This year's pitching staff is a knockout combination of talent. Sean Timmons, six-time veteran of Goldpanner squads, will anchor the savvy staff. With his first appearance, he will tie the all-time Goldpanner record for most seasons played. His seven years of production ties George "Muggs" Mies, a record-setting right-handed pitcher on the seven earliest Panner clubs.
The incoming staff also includes two impressive newcomers. Kyle Allen, of Orange Coast College, fanned 18 players in one game earlier this year, and is likely to start behind Brad Davis, an unheralded left-handed pitchmaster from Spaulding, Kentucky. Rounding out the starting rotation is Will Fenton of the University of Washington, and Cesar Ramos of Long Beach State.
Ed Cheff, head coach of the perennial NAIA champion Lewis-Clark State Warriors, rejoins the organization for his second season at the helm of field management. In 2002, Ed was named "Coach of the Year" by the NAIA, Alaska Baseball League, and NBC World Series. Coaches Rob Hippi and Elliot Strankman will be joining him on the field as team coaches. Rob will be handling the pitchers for the second season, while first-timer Elliot will instruct the hitters.
The Panners have posted 41 winning seasons and no less than 180 of their players have made it to the pinnacle of baseball in the major leagues. Hundreds of others have progressed through the minor league baseball system. The number of graduates to the majors-180-is far and away the best track record of a single amateur team ever - and a mark that is not likely to be overtaken in the foreseeable future.
The Alaska Baseball League schedule is sure to be entertaining this season, due in no small part to the state and national champion status of the Goldpanners. The blue team from Anchorage will no doubt be seeking some measure of redemption after losing to the Goldpanners twice in the NBC World Series, including an 8-3 loss in the title game.
The Growden Memorial Park schedule features 44 games, including those of local ABL rival AIA ALASKA. Outside foes are the Victory Dons of upstate California, and the Beatrice Bruins from Nebraska, who are competing against the Goldpanners in the Midnight Sun Game (Friday, June 20, 10:30PM) for the very first time.
Catch up with all the action at www.goldpanners.com. In addition to game pictures and live play-by-play statistics, the Goldpanners are again broadcasting video of all games live over the Internet! Join craftsman Gero Von Dehn ("The G-Man") and Producer/Announcer Todd Dennis at home and on the road for live action all summer long. Join the Booster Club!