1986: On Alaska’s long sunny evenings, you can watch some very good amateur baseball.

The “Midnight Sun’ game:¬†On Alaska’s long sunny evenings, you can watch some very good amateur baseball.

Alaskans love baseball. On long summer evenings and weekend days, everybody, it seems, plays softball. And when they’re not at bat or fielding, Alaskans fill hometown grandstands to watch the teams of the Alaska Baseball League play some of the best amateur hardball in the West. Continue reading

Sports Illustrated: The Alaska Baseball League – A major league pipeline

“A police officer pulled in there saying, `I know you guys are from somewhere where it’s nighttime, but you need to get to bed,”’ Luis Gonzalez said.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -There are so few fans in Mulcahy Stadium this summer evening that a heckler’s game-long monologue carries clear to the pitcher’s mound. It’s the eighth inning. The hometown Anchorage Bucs are tied with the Peninsula Oilers, 2-2.

“Hit it right at him, see how his reflexes are!” he urges the batter.

The man’s voice cuts easily through the quiet chatter of about 300 people lounging in the bleachers at this Alaska Baseball League game, between teams made up of college players from North Carolina to Hawaii to Taiwan. The park holds 4,500 people, but the average turnout for a game is several hundred. Continue reading

2006: North Pole Nicks’ Steve Finley (86) joins 300-300 club

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -Joe DiMaggio never gained admission to this exclusive club. Nor did Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Babe Ruth.

Until this month, only four players in major league history had. Then, within days of each other, two well-traveled friends – Kansas City’s Reggie Sanders and San Francisco’s Steve Finley – quietly expanded the group to six members. The admissions policy is demanding: 300 career homers and 300 stolen bases. Continue reading