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”

Bill at the 2006 Midnight Sun Game


Unless they get serious about baseball in Scandinavia or some other place near the Arctic Circle, Fairbanks will continue to have the market on games under the Midnight Sun just as it has for the past century.

“It’s unique. We’re the only people that have it,” said Don Dennis, the Alaska Goldpanners’ general manager since 1968. “Nobody else can do it.”

That’s because nobody else who has almost 22 hours of daylight on the summer solstice plays baseball regularly. And the other five Alaska Baseball League teams, the nearest 300 miles to the south, simply don’t have enough light to start a game at 10:30 p.m. and play it all the way through without flipping the switch for artificial lights. Continue reading “Bill at the 2006 Midnight Sun Game”

Baseball at midnight? Only in Alaska (2006)

“‘The number of years the three of us have been in Alaska is 203,” Stroecker said, eyes alert for the missing band member. “And, apparently, one of us has Alzheimer’s.”


The sun was posturing, scraping the western horizon while making its slow descent to the north. A rainbow unfurled in the east. And Bill Stroecker was standing impatiently by the admission gate at Growden Park as fans lined up to celebrate a baseball happening like no other.

Bill quoted by the New York Times (2004)

The New York Times
 June 25, 2004

‘You enjoy every minute of this,” said Mr. Stroecker, who has lived his entire life in Fairbanks, ”because from here on out, it goes downhill a little bit every day.”

 IN the first inning, a routine fly ball drifted above the left fielder, who, positioning himself just right in the grass, held up his mitt — and then lost the ball in the sun. It was 10:40 p.m. Attribute the error to the solstice light, still going strong at the start of the 99th annual Midnight Sun Baseball Game. Continue reading “Bill quoted by the New York Times (2004)”

Eddie Stroecker at the 1912 midnight game

Sunset Magazine
June 1913

Showing How Fans Are in Evidence in Central
Alaska on the Longest Day of the Year

    By H.C. Jackson

“Instead of sitting down to a midnight game of base-ball” observed the genial sourdough at my side as we found places in the bleachers, “you’d be going home from the theatre at this time of the night.   I mean if you were back in the States, in place of being in central Alaska.” Continue reading “Eddie Stroecker at the 1912 midnight 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.


1912: Article – Stroecker – No Paystreak at Good News

Ed Stroecker
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and Tanana Tribune
Fairbanks, Alaska
Tuesday, October 1, 1912
Tenth Year–Number 191



Stroecker Receives Word Concerning Operations on Butte.

Rich Spots of Pay There.

Prospecting Difficult and Expensive in Lower Kuskokwim Camp.

Advices which Ed Stroecker has just received from his mining partner, Bill McLean, in the Good News Bay country of the lower Kuskokwim are to the effect that no real paystreak has been uncovered as yet in that camp. True, some very rich spots of pay have been found, but these have the habit of suddenly petering out. This is the case with one of the firms on Butte Creek. Last season the boys took out $11,000. This summer they mined $10,000 and then suddenly ran out of the pay. McLean reports that they now have closed down and quit the camp. Despite these characteristics of the district and of Butte Creek McLean is quite optimistic and is satisfied that a little more prospecting will disclose a real and continuous paystreak from which the rich spots derived their gold.

Still operations are very expensive and slow on Butte, and all of the lower Kuskokwim. There is now need for the boilers, while most of the ground is wet and will require pumping.

McLean and partners put in a bedrock drain, but did not make much ______ because the water could not move the rocks, which are large, of high specific gravity and mostly flat.

1912: Article – Winter Work is Slow

Ed Stroecker
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and Tanana Tribune
Fairbanks, Alaska
Friday, October 11, 1912
Tenth Year–Number 200


One Plant Only Working at Chatanika, Olnes and Lower Vault.

This is the betwixt and between season for the placer workers when they are ceasing summer work, while they have not yet started winter development, hence it is rather quiet on the creeks reports Ed Stroecker, of E. R. Peoples’ store, who is just back from a tour of the neighboring valleys.

At Chatanika, Stroecker found only one plant at work, the remainder having finished for the season.

Down at the mouth of Dome, Barney Sandstrom is closing down today. Gleinschmidt ceased work yesterday noon, while Jerry Paulson expects to operate until the first of the month. Paulson is busied on the new left limit pay streak which shows a run of course gold, different from that previously found on the Niggerhead.

A little later there will be some work started on the Shakespeare group of Dome for two new days are to be let on that property.

No one is working now on lower Little El Dorado, and J. S. Bigsby has the only plan on lower Vault. He is sluicing on the Alabama Association.

1912: Article – Eagles Given Hard Drubbing

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and Tanana Tribune
Monday, July 1, 1912
1912 Midnight Sun Game Lineups

The fans at Exposition Park yesterday afternoon were much disappointed at the class of ball, for the Van Dycks were such easy victors as to rob the match of interest.

Buckley opened for the Eagles and was pounded over the field for 10 funs. He was replaced by Leonberger, who pitched very good ball. For the Eagles, Conway, the recent arrival, who caught during the midnight game, was back in his proper position, first base, which he held down to perfection. Douse was also in his old place behind the bat.

For the Van Dycks, McDonough opened the game and pitched for seven innings, Stroecker going in at the last. The receiving end of the Van Dyck battery was Jesse Myers.

There is some talk of dividing the players on the two teams up so that the nines will be more evenly matched, and thus make the game more interesting when the teams meet on the Fourth of July.

The lineup was as follows:

Eagles — Leonberger, p; Douse, c; Conway, 1b; McMullen, 2b; Geis, ss; Buckley, 3b; Hamilton, rf; Goodman, cf; Ricker, lf.

Van Dycks — Stroecker and McDonough, p; Myer and Stroecker, c; Koon, 1b; Wagner, 2b; Wood, ss; Bennett, 3b; Myers and McDonough, lf; Corruthers, cf; Taylor, rf.

Score by innings:
Eagles       —   1 0 0 0 0 2 0 4 3 0
Van Dycks —   1  0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 4