Home Field Advantage: Baseball In The Far North!
March 8th, 2015
The Glacier Pilots Legacy Project is participating with Anchorage Museum and they're going to have a terrific exhibit this year called HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: BASEBALL IN THE NORTH! Starting May 1st until Nov 1, 2015!
And they just like this Project NEED your photos, old movies and other memories. So, please if you haven't already look through those old photo albums and even digital photo folders and please share! Of course we will post them online at www.glacierpilotslegacy.com and we will be sharing them with the Museum too!
Any questions please contact us thru our Make Contact link!
Robert Barr Interviews Former Dodger Ron Roenicke
by Scott Andes
Aug 1, 2013
In this next installment Robert interviews former Dodger player, Ron Roenicke. Roenicke played for the Dodgers from 1981-1983. He also became a big league manager, and is currently the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. Roenicke has been in Baseball as a player, coach, and manager for a long time. This time he sits down with Robert Barr to talk about his time spent playing Baseball in Alaska.
Roenicke talks about more moose chasing, which I guess is fairly common over there in Alaska. He talks about his playing time with the 1976 Valley Green Giants, which later became the Matsu-Miners. Roenicke later played for the Alaska Goldpanners in the National Baseball Congress (NBC) championship. (read more)
Robert Barr Interviews Former Dodger Mickey Hatcher
by Scott Andes July 25, 2013
Hatcher was an important part of that championship team. He hit two home runs and batted .368 (7 for 19) with 5 runs scored in the series. Robert sits down to talk to him about playing in Alaska, chasing bears, moose chasing, and hiding out from Barry Switzer. Whenever someone says moose I still think of the show northern exposure. Hatcher played for the Pilots in 1976. Check out Robert’s interview with former Dodger Mickey Hatcher here. (read more)
Robert Barr Interviews Former Dodger
And Glacier Pilot Darren Dreifort
by Scott Andes July 17th, 2013
Here is something interesting for you guys to check out while we enjoy some down time during the all-star break.
Robert Barr is the curator, creator, and editor of the site called Glacierpilotslegacy.com. This is a site dedicated to the history of the Anchorage Glacier Pilots. The Glacier Pilots are an Alaskan summer Baseball team belonging to the Alaskan Baseball league. Yes there is Baseball everywhere, even in the snow covered landscape of Alaska. (read more)
New Jersey Baseball Magazine
Alaskan Baseball is Eternal: A Look at Robert Barr and the Glacier Pilots
by Matthew Orso
May 29th, 2013
There has never been a Major League Baseball team out of Alaska. Alaska can never say they’ve won a World Series title. Heck they can’t even say they’ve finished in last place. However from speaking to Robert Barr, I learned first hand that Alaska is responsible for much of the legacy and tradition that Major League Baseball provides today.
Robert Barr is the mastermind behind three documentaries that center around Alaskan baseball. More specifically the documentaries center around the Glacier Pilots, an Alaskan Baseball team that has contributed to the development of baseball all across the country. (read More)
Did The Tribe Win Last Night?
Man Seeks to Tell Story of Alaska’s Glacier Pilots
by Vince Guerrieri
May 28th, 2013
Robert Barr grew up in the shadow of Mulcahy Stadium in Alaska. He watched the Alaska Baseball League grow from a series of town teams to one of the best collegiate baseball leagues in the country.
And he’s trying to bring that story to a wider audience.
Barr, now living in Los Angeles and working in television and film, followed around the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in their 2001 season with the intention of putting together a documentary. What he ended up doing was following a team that included three future major leaguers – including former Indian Ben Francisco – as it won the National Baseball Congress World Series.
ANCHORAGE GLACIER PILOTS LEGACY PROJECT by Ian May 14 2013
The 2001 NBC Champions Untold Story. Until now.
An Alaskan filmmaker needs your help to fund this film project.
“Well, why don’t you do it?” my Dad asked, as we sat behind home plate at Mulcahy Stadium in the summer of 1999. I still remember that hot summer so long ago, the smell of burning pine trees from a huge forest fire just north of Anchorage. We had been talking about how the American sports media had really overlooked baseball in Alaska, and all the amazing talent that had come through the Alaska Baseball League. The list of talent that played at one time or another since the Pilots first took the field in 1969 was incredible: Mark McGwire, Randy Johnson, Mickey Hatcher, Suguru Egawa, Dan Boone, Randy Jones, Chris Chambliss, Dave Winfield, Tom Seaver, Bump Wills, Graig Nettles, and Rick Monday, to name a few. (read more)
Pilots Filmaker Needs Your Help! by Jesse Jack May 7th, 2013
Robert Barr, a filmmaker who “grew up at Mulcahy Stadium”, has decided to chase his dream of telling the story of the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on screens big and small. And he’d like you to be a part of his project.
In 2001, Barr followed the Pilots on what would become their most recent National Baseball Congress championship season. As it turned out, it was also an opportunity to preserve the personal stories and perspective of two Alaska baseball legends — Jack O’Toole and Lefty Van Brunt — before their passing. Barr gave us a glimpse into their minds in his well-received 2004 film, “Lefty and Jack” (which is available at the Glacier Pilots stores and on GlacierPilots.com).
Now the time has come for Barr to complete the rest of his work, a task which he describes as “huge, complex and fascinating.” For years he’s labored on this project and cut the miles of film down to (at least) three more distinct projects: “A Different Breed of Guys”, a two-hour feature film on the 2001 championship Glacier Pilots; a historical documentary which honors the team from it’s 1969 inception to the present day; and a web-based “reality” series which will tell the story of the 2001 team leading up to the release of the feature film. (read more)
ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS
Another year in Wichita, Pilots pitching coach Lefty Van Brunt vowed to throw O'Toole a birthday party, complete with dancing girls, and he delivered on his promise.
"Who were they, Jack?'' Van Brunt said to O'Toole as the two swapped stories four years ago.
"My daughter, my wife and my mother,'' O'Toole answered.
Those are just two of the amusing, and occasionally ribald, stories told by the late O'Toole -- who died at age 80 in 2002 -- and Van Brunt in filmmaker Robert Barr's engaging new documentary, "Lefty and Jack.''
The limited-edition film -- only 150 copies are available -- is subtitled, "Alaskan Baseball Stories -- Tales, Legends and Heroes of the Anchorage Glacier Pilots.'' It is the first of Barr's planned three volumes about the Alaska Baseball League team that has played here since 1969, and for anyone who has followed the team or the ABL for very long, it is a gem.
"It's a video strictly for the fans,'' said Barr, 36, who grew up in Muldoon and now works in California as a filmmaker and a consultant to the DVD industry.
Barr, who as a kid chased foul balls at Mulcahy Stadium, was enjoying a Pilots game with his dad, Howard, on a visit in 1999, when he mused that it was amazing no one had ever produced a documentary about the Pilots. So what's stopping you, Howard asked.
"He gave me one of those put-up or shut-up moments,'' Barr said.
So it was that Barr (Bartlett High, '86) came back up in the summer of 2001 and spent the summer shadowing the Pilots, shooting dozens upon dozens of hours of video. When he decided to interview longtime coaches O'Toole and Van Brunt, Barr quickly realized he had struck gold.
"To me, it was one of the divine moments when everything came together,'' Barr said over his cell phone the other day while negotiating Los Angeles freeway traffic. "It's just so much fun listening to them.''
In the video that runs 49 minutes -- that was simply luck, Barr said, not a nod to Alaska's status as the 49th state -- O'Toole and Van Brunt recall great games and great characters from more than 30 years with the Pilots. The organization has groomed scores of players for Major League Baseball, won five NBC championships and furnished countless stories so gripping or hilarious that O'Toole and Van Brunt could make time fly during a rain delay just by recounting the tales.
O'Toole recalls a classic game in 1982, when Pilots slugger Mark McGwire hit a mammoth, walk-off solo homer with one out in the ninth inning to end a no-hitter by right-hander Don August of the Anchorage Bucs and deliver a 1-0 win. Few remember that Pilots right-hander John Hoover struck out 16 and allowed just two hits.
"That, to me, was the best game I've seen up here,'' O'Toole says in the video.
Then there was the time in 1984 that the Pilots traveled to Fairbanks to play the Goldpanners. Randy Johnson, the 6-foot-11 southpaw who Pilots players called "The Giraffe'' long before he acquired his major league nickname of "The Big Unit,'' was scheduled to pitch the first game of the series. The team traveled by bus or motor home, but to cut travel time and give Johnson legroom, Van Brunt had the lefty ride shotgun in his Lincoln for the journey up the Parks Highway.
When Johnson stretched his bare feet out the passenger window, Van Brunt advised him to put on some socks. Johnson said he didn't have any, so Van Brunt dug a pair out of his suitcase.
"When we got (to Fairbanks), those socks were just covered with bugs,'' Van Brunt recalled. "I don't know what he would have done with bare feet. He wouldn't have been able to walk.''
The denizens of Home Brew Alley, the faithful rooting section next to the Pilots dugout at Mulcahy, are chronicled too. During the 1970s, a time when Anchorage still was a little rough around the edges, the gang in Home Brew Alley was particularly fun-loving.
O'Toole tells the story of a Home Brew Alley regular who liked to sit on the top row of the bleachers nipping at a bottle and some beers. The fan, O'Toole said, often fell off the bleachers. The rest of Home Brew Alley would invariably leave their fallen friend where he landed.
"This didn't happen once, it happened a dozen times during the season,'' O'Toole said.
Another time, O'Toole said he was walking into the clubhouse after the Pilots won a game on Doug Ault's home run. A member of Home Brew Alley palmed something to O'Toole and told him to give it to Ault. O'Toole opened his hand to find a $100 bill.
The players in those days apparently weren't immune to living dangerously. O'Toole recalls one year when a few pitchers in the bullpen would leave the ballpark at the start of the game, go to a nearby bar and listen to the game on the radio to check whether they might be needed.
"If it looked like someone was going to be used, they'd get in the car and come back to the ballpark,'' O'Toole said.
Naturally, no dish from the diamond would be complete without stories about umpires, and "Lefty and Jack'' does not disappoint. Van Brunt said that in the Pilots' debut season of 1969, manager Paul Deese was ejected 19 times. Once angered, Van Brunt said, Deese was liable to throw anything he could get his hands on -- gloves, shin guards, a catcher's mask.
"Helluva temper,'' Van Brunt said.
Then there was umpire Emmett Ashford. He was the first African-American umpire in the major leagues and later spent 1971 and 1972 umpiring in the ABL. Ashford stayed those summers at O'Toole's house, and O'Toole fed him steak and treated him to bourbon. One time, Ashford kicked O'Toole out of a game.
"Then I had to take him home, cook him steak and feed him booze,'' O'Toole said.
Barr plans to produce two more Pilots videos. The second volume will cover the Pilots' 2001 NBC championship season and the third will be a history of the Pilots.
For now, we have "Lefty and Jack.'' And it looks like the start of another Pilots classic.
This column is the opinion of Daily News assistant sports editor Doyle Woody. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The program can be purchased at the Pilots website.
For more info: www.glacierpilots.com