2013: Goldpanners to honor Barber at Midnight Sun Game

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After retiring from coaching, Barber spent the last 30 years as a member of the Goldpanners organization, serving on the Board of Directors and as the head of field maintenance.


Goldpanners to honor Barber at Midnight Sun Game

By BOB ELEY
June 21, 2013


FAIRBANKS — It took 54 years, but the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks finally got to the halfway point.

When tonight’s 108th Midnight Sun Baseball Game comes to its conclusion, sometime in the wee hours of Saturday morning, the Goldpanners will have played in exactly half of the games in the time-honored tradition.

The Midnight Sun Baseball Game, which is on the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Top 10 “Must See” attractions, is scheduled to start at 10:30 tonight and will be played in its entirety without the benefit of artificial lights.

The Goldpanners will take on the San Francisco Seals in this year’s contest.

The game is expected to draw a standing-room-only crowd of about 5,000 fans to Growden Memorial Park.

During tonight’s pregame festivities, the Goldpanners will honor the legacy of longtime Fairbanks resident Carroll Barber, who died on Nov. 14, 2012.

Barber, a Fairbanks resident for 65 years, was best known for his dedication to Little League Baseball, where he served as coach of the Red Sox for decades and represented Alaska at Little League Baseball’s West Regional and National meetings.

After retiring from coaching, Barber spent the last 30 years as a member of the Goldpanners organization, serving on the Board of Directors and as the head of field maintenance.

In the early 1980s, Goldpanner general manager Don Dennis offered Barber a lifetime position to take care of the Growden Park field.

Barber accepted the position, and as late as last August, he could be seen at all times of the day and night, setting up hoses to water the outfield or riding the grass mower at Growden Park.

“Carroll will forever be remembered as one of the most influential people in the history of the Goldpanners, and certainly the most valuable from the ‘hands on’ perspective,” Dennis said in Barber’s obituary.

The Goldpanners also will honor Dennis, the team’s chief operating officer, for his 50 years of being involved with the program.

Members of the Michigan Great Lakes Project, which brings middle school students to Alaska each summer for more than a decade, will be honored during the game as well. Members of the program will cheer on the Panners again this year.

The Goldpanners will launch the Star 49 Foundation at tonight’s game.

The foundation was formed to “preserve the past and ensure the future of the Ken Rankin and Carroll Barber Youth Baseball Camp,” according to Goldpanners general manager Todd Dennis.

Anyone donating $100 or more to the foundation will receive a Goldpanners hat. It is the only way to purchase a hat this summer, Todd Dennis said.

San Francisco’s Ghazaleh Sailors, will throw out the first pitch tonight. She became the first female pitcher to face the Goldpanners when she pitched two innings Tuesday night.

Fairbanks singer Sierra Newman will sing the national anthem and the Alaska Flag Song as part of this year’s festivities.

Newman will sing the Alaska Flag Song at the half-inning break closest to midnight, and former Goldpanner pitcher Sean Timmons will throw out the Midnight Sun Pitch at that time.

Timmons, a Fairbanks product, has won the Midnight Sun Game more times than any other pitcher in the  54-year history of the Goldpanners.

Also, a commemorative program with information regarding the previous 107 Midnight Sun games will be available.

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