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

2000: Stroecker Name Linked with Fairbanks History

JUNE 2000

The inconceivably dramatic history of the city of Fairbanks has been shaped by a multitude of forgotten characters, including frontiersmen, gold panners, and all-around scoundrels. The names of those who have made the greatest impact are remembered with honor and pride. One such name is that of Eddie Stroecker, “The Grand Old Man.”

An adventurer who came to Alaska at the turn of the century, Stroecker brought with him a passion for the game of baseball that is remembered to this day. He played in the earliest organized “base ball” games in Fairbanks, and is remembered as the father of Fairbanks’ annual midnight sun baseball game.

“Baseball seemed to mean more to him than anything,” said Eddie’s son, Bill Stroecker, who has perpetuated the legacy by serving as the Alaska Goldpanners’ board president for 34 consecutive years.

It was October 1904 when Eddie Stroecker and some friends floated on a hand-built boat to what was then the booming gold camp called Fairbanks. Before that, he spent winters working in Valdez and summers mining in the Copper River Valley. It was his knack for baseball that landed him a much-needed job in Valdez in 1901. “There was a saloon owner in Valdez who envisioned himself to be a pretty good pitcher,” recalled Bill Stroecker, from a story his father had told him. “He would go out with two other guys, a catcher and a batter, and the three of them would play. Dad was sitting on the fence watching when the batter hit a high fly ball. Dad ran over to catch it and the saloon owner said, ‘Now that’s a baseball player!’ and gave Dad a job in the saloon.”

Eddie Stroecker was an intense player, and played the catcher position with ferocious determination. Often the team captain, he and whatever local team he could pull together challenged military and business teams in the gold rush days of the early 1900’s. Stroecker was admired throughout the North for his aggressive baserunning and a Dawson newspaper suggested that he would have the makings of a professional player in the Lower 48.

As best as can be determined, the annual Midnight Sun Baseball Classic started in 1906 as a Summer Solstice celebration. The game has always been held at midnight, and in its 95 years has never once been played under artificial lighting. This became a primary facet of game tradition in 1964 when Growden Memorial Park, home of the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks, became Alaska’s first outdoor stadium with lights.

Stroecker is reported to have played in Fairbanks’ very first organized baseball game, and he is credited with being the driving force behind the inauguration of the midnight game tradition.

His stellar play was a constant draw for the event. Playing for the Athletics in the 1910 classic, he had two hits, scored a run and stole four bases in his team’s 11-8 win. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner’s account of the game states that “to the work of Eddie Stroecker more than to any other one person, is the victory of the Athletics attributable, as he put life and confidence into his team and made use of his head at all times in playing his team.” His outstanding play continued for years, and his was a routine presence in the Midnight Sun Game lineup until 1918.

It has been almost a century since Eddie Stroecker and his teammates started the unrivaled tradition of Fairbanks’ Midnight Sun Game. Bill Stroecker’s subsequent leadership in Fairbanks baseball presents a 100 year dominion for the Stroecker duo that is almost unimaginable. This summer, the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks will be honoring the Stroecker legacy in Fairbanks history by recognizing with esteem the distinction of these two great men.



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: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsminer/obituary.aspx?n=william-george-stroecker-bill&pid=146552075#sthash.SrUY5Q0w.dpuf