FAIRBANKS, ALASKA: The Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks baseball club has named John Lohrke President of the club’s board of directors. John is only the fourth president in the 57-year history of the club, following W.G. Stroecker (1963-2010), E. Chilton Hines (2011-12) and Phil Prax (2013-14-15).
John is a graduate of Santa Clara University, following in the footsteps of his brother Kurt who was a first team all-conference ballplayer for the Broncos. Kurt enjoyed a three-year pro career after being drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1971. He had also been drafted out of high school by the Kansas City Royals.
John and Kurt’s father Jack was a major league baseball infielder for the New York Giants (1947-51) and Philadelphia Phillies (1952-53). On July 3 1956, Jack played an exhibition game in Fairbanks as a member of the Seattle Rainiers. Jack went 1-for-3 in the game, which saw the professional Rainiers defeat the Fairbanks All-Stars 18-14. The local club was led offensively by Charlie Cole, longtime Chairman of the Goldpanners Board of Directors. Following his baseball career Jack retired as the head of Lockheed Corporation’s head of security.
John first came to Alaska in 1980 to work for the North Pole Nicks (1980-87) summer ballclub as an administrative assistant. From there, he ascended to the General Manager position, a role he held through the 1987 season. During his tenure with the club, the Nicks finished second at the National Baseball Congress World Series. Twenty-six players from those club ascended to the major leagues, including Mark Grace and Luis Gonzales.
Later, John served as President of the Kenai Peninsula Oilers Board of Directors (1999-01). The 1999 Oilers became John’s second club to reach the championship game of the NBC World Series. During his stay in the Kenai Peninsula, John assumed the General Manager position at Seekin’s Ford in Soldotna. In 2002, he moved to the Interior of Alaska in a management role at Seekin’s Ford, Fairbanks.
When asked about the prospects for the 55th season in Growden Memorial Park John said, “I’m very excited to continue my love for baseball with the most prestigious and well-known semi-pro baseball team in the country. I’m looking forward to an exciting season as we work towards winning another national title for the great city of Fairbanks.”