Alaskan Baseball: Summer in the ABL |

Bill Stroecker, center, is the trumpetist for the Frigid-Aires, Growden’s house band, which runs through a set of jazz standards prior to each Midnight Sun Game. Stroecker’s father, Eddie, was the catcher in the very first Midnight Sun Game, in 1906, and Bill still serves as the president of the Goldpanners. Between Stroecker (who complained of “sticky valves” during his 2007 set), accordion player Rif Rafson, and bassist Karl Carlson, the Frigid-Aires have spent a combined 206 years in Alaska.

Source: Alaskan Baseball: Summer in the ABL |

Bill speaks to ESPN at the 2005 Midnight Sun Game

By Jim Caple

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – The Midnight Sun game is like most baseball games -except here the shadows are still creeping across the infield at close to 11 p.m.

“Nobody here knows if the lights have ever been turned on or not,” Alaska Goldpanners manager Ed Cheff said, squinting through the golden sunlight at the light towers at Growden Park. “The rumor is that they might not even work. I know they’ve never been on in the four years I’ve been here. You talk to the locals about the lights and they just laugh and say, ‘Yeah, we don’t know about them, either.'” Continue reading “Bill speaks to ESPN at the 2005 Midnight Sun Game”

Stroecker still offers guiding hand as Goldpanners president

By Dermot Cole

“There’s no program like it anywhere.”

DURING THE EARLY DAYS OF Fairbanks, baseball had an iron grip on the public’s attention.

There were no cars to get people out of town easily and no television stations to keep the kids entertained, so a trip to a ballgame was a favorite diversion.

“There were great players in those days too,” Bob Bartlett wrote in 1954. “Whether they could have made the major leagues is beside the point.”

Bartlett, a future U.S. Senator, said his favorite ballplayers included George Parks, who became governor of Alaska, and Ed Stroecker, who later served as president of the First National Bank of Fairbanks (now Key Bank). Stroecker was a great power hitter, Bartlett said. Continue reading “Stroecker still offers guiding hand as Goldpanners president”

1918: Ed Stroecker, Fairbanks Home Guard

March 27th, 1918


FRANK B. HALL, President
GUY B. ERWIN, Vice-President
JAS. E. BARRACK, Drillmaster


You are informed that the Fairbanks Home Guard is now regularly organized and has been authorized by the Governor of Alaska to petition the services designated in Act June 11, 1917 and that the Guards have the character of State Police or Constabulary.

It has been decided to use the Home Guard for patrol duty in Fairbanks and Garden Island during the night time.  This patrol and guard will be started on April 1st, 1918 and will be kept up according to the schedule herewith for the period of four weeks, when the hours of guard duty will be shortened and a new schedule of names furnished.

The patrol will consist of six guards, two on Garden Island, and four in town of Fairbanks, and the patrol will be relieved every two hours.

The object of the patrol is to guard and protect property, especially all warehouses containing food and government property.  The patrol on the Garden Island side will guard the warehouse district, railway depot and buildings and the bridge.  The patrol in Fairbanks will pay especial attention to that part of the town lying between First and Third Avenues and from Lacy Street to Wickersham.

The patrol will be armed with revolvers and are ordered to make arrests in the event of persons attempting to destroy property.

The guards will report for duty at the City Hall, where a book will be furnished for the entry of their names and time of going on duty and where they will be furnished with arms.  The second, third and fourth relief, after reporting at City Hall, will relieve those on duty, who hand over their arms, and when the fourth relief goes off duty at 6 o’clock in the morning they will return the arms to City Hall.

It is intended that each man shall stand guard two hours once each week.  In order that the hours of duty be fairly distributed, each relief will be guided by and go on duty the first time in strict accordance with the schedule as printed.  The second time their turn for guard duty comes around each relief will go on two hours later than they did the first week, and so on each successive week for the four weeks the schedule is intended to cover, which will give each relief patrol duty for one week of the four periods. In other words, those who go on duty from 9 to 11 the first night will the following week go on from 11 to 1, and the next week from 1 to 3, and the fourth week from 3 to 5.

If there is any misunderstanding with reference to these instructions, you are to call up any of the drillmasters, who will put you right.

If for any reason you are prevented from attending to these duties at the hour fixed, it is expected that you will provide a substitute by changing hours with some other member of the Home Guard.


The officers of the Guard look to the members to carry out this order in the spirit that it is for the best interests of all concerned. We are engaged in the bitterest war of all times, the safety of Civilization is at stake, and there is a debt of service due from every man in this country proportionate to the bounties which nature and fortune have measured to him. That you are willing an anxious to “do your bit” is not questioned. – TWO HOURS EACH WEEK.

March 27th, 1918. By Order of Executive Committee.





9 to 11 11 to 1 1 to 3 3 to 5
Anderson, O. W. Bloom, Robt Joslin, W. H. Hamilton, Ray
Bishoprick, F. Bickford, J. B. Boyer, E. H. Brown, R. M.
Bucci, J. Buel, T. Bailey, H. Bredlie, A.
Kelly, H. C. Bidwell, J. Buckley, J. J. Cambridge, J. A.
Hess, L. C. Beraud, G. E. Clark, J. A. Carlson, M. O.
Bernard, R. L. Hess, S. R. Love, Max Williams, A. J.


Levake, J. Levake, Dave Raap, John Saulich, Milo
Wolcott, Ed. Kennedy, B. S. Miller, Frank DeYoung, Harry


Coleman, G. A. Clausen, E. A. Carey, Wm. Cunningham, J. M.
Courtnay, Walter Clark, F. R. Conradt, Aug. Drake, G. D.
Avakoff, H. B. Cathcart, W. Carlsten, A. Johnson, A. J.
Gibson, Thos. Coombs, D. F. Carruthers, S. S. Wilbur, A. L.


Atlich, Carl Davis, Edby Kennedy, A Hayes, C. H.
Struthers, J. Fred. Barrack, John Weir, H. A. Wesch, Geo.


Dunn, John Fairborn, J. A. Graham, F. P. Groen, John
Davis, J. A. Fortier, A. H. George, Chris. Gillette, L. R.
Deal, T. H. Fisher, Oscar D. Groves, J. Hall, F. B.
Evans, W. E. Foster, T. H. Gellerman, E. Hutchinson, G.


McCord, Abe Lewis, Fred. Jankovich, M. Davis, H. C.
Sommers, R. J. Hopkins, Paul Nerland, Andrew Heath, Jack


Hahn, C. S. Krieger, O. P. Landers, A. Magnussen, S. L.
Johnson, Ed. Kramer, W. F. Lumpkin, H. H. Mehegan, J.
Kennedy, G. F. Lavery, Robt. Miller, J. H. Markus, Geo.
Lloyd, Reese Fowle, J. R. Mack, E. H. Marple, W.


Menzie, R. D. Kelly, Robt. Johnson, Theo. Appleby, W. A.
Rose, Dan Bryant, J. F. Sheldon, R. E. Smythe, E. J.


McKinnon, W. W. Heilmick, M. Nerland, T. A. Koon, Norman
MacQuarrie, G. A. McGinnis, D. L. Pinkerton, W. T. Parsons, T. A.
McDonald, Thos. Newton, D. A. Peterson, P. S. Rhind, C. F.
McCrary, Frank Nerland, Andy Preston, Geo. Rust, Jesse


Peoples, E. R. Ross, H. H. St. George, R. Y. Selberg, C. S.
McIntosh, J. A. McAdam, Ed Murrow, J. G. Moyer, LeRoy


Bolston, Ted Sherman, Ben. Sells, Mark Tonseth, E. A.
Roth, R. F. Smith, Jos. Smith, Jr., J. H. Tull, H. R.
Steel, R. S. Sea, Sam Taylor, R. W. Wood,, F. P.
Swan, T. T. Sutherland, J. A. Thompson, Ben. Wooldridge, E. R.


Stroecker, Ed. Sanderlin, E. L. Campbell, Wm. Landerking, G. M.
Karstens, H. P. Kubon, Ralph Lorentzen, Peter Lovejoy, S __ve


Copeland, A. L. Fisher, Joe F. Handley, W. H. Hering, Ed
Crawford, R. M. Golden, Louis Harrals, Martin Hunter, Geo.
Brown, Harry W. Grown, Harry L. Hellig, Reed W. Purdy, E. H.
Douse, Fred Hall, M. F. Heacock, L. J. Protzman, L. F.

Bill on ESPN
Bill on ESPN



Born in Fairbanks on July 31, 1920, Stroecker had the rare distinction of never calling anywhere else home, leaving Fairbanks only in 1938 to attend New Mexico Military Institute and then again near the end of World War II when stationed in the Army at Grande Prairie, Canada as part of the Lend-Lease Program.

Following the war, the son and grandson of pioneer Alaskan families, became bookkeeper at First National Bank. He succeeded his brother, Ed, as president in 1967, remaining in that position until the bank was sold in 1978. Bill continued to serve as vice president of public relations at the First National successor, Key Bank, until entering the hospital. Over all the years Bill was a familiar sight to Fairbanksians trudging to and from work in his long raccoon coat and hat.
Charming to the core, the rugged Stroecker enjoyed a wide-range of activities. His musical talents are legend as he played his trumpet at local dances and functions. He played regularly in recent years with a jazz band known as the Frigid-Aires. His interest in music, particularly jazz, ran deep and he spent many relaxing hours listening to the works of great artists.
Bill took particular interest in The Salvation Army and the Alaska Goldpanners baseball team. He was a hard-working contributor to both. He is the only “life” member of the Fairbanks Salvation Army Board.
His tenure with the Goldpanners began in 1962 and for 50 seasons he contributed much time and energy. Remarkably, he served the last 46 years as president of the board of directors, winning successive one-year terms.
The list of his civic undertakings is long. They include: Greater Fairbanks Hospital Foundation; Friends of the University Museum; Fairbanks Rotary Club; State of Alaska Guide Board; Alaska Banker’s Association; Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce; Fairbanks Urban Beautification Commission; and numerous other advisory posts. Additionally he received top honors from virtually all of the organizations to which he served or belonged, including mention at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Bill joined Igloo No. 4, Pioneers of Alaska, in 1951, earning life membership in 1976.
As public as his life was, Bill saved his most enjoyable times for himself and a few friends. An avid outdoorsman he spent literally every weekend soaking up the great outdoors whether it be boating, fishing, hunting, hiking or snowshoeing.  Joining Bill on such adventures would be his prized Labrador retrievers. Racey was his faithful Lab companion at the time of his passing. Bill obtained his first black Lab in 1944 and over the next 65 years had one or more at all times. He took great pains in training the dogs and was active in Fairbanks Retriever Club trials over the years.
Another passion for Bill was Alaskana. He acquired a great collection of items and had a deep knowledge of the history of the state and the Fairbanks area in particular.
Bill’s grandfather, Charles N. Creamer, crossed the Chilkoot Trail in 1897. In what Bill considered one of his major accomplishments, he retraced his grandfather’s footsteps in 1997, at age 77, and some 100 years later. Bill never failed to get a twinkle in his eye  when talking of his parents, grandparents and others of the pioneer times. Bill admitted to being joined to the past and liking it that way.”  Published in Daily News-Miner on Nov. 11, 2010 – See more at: