Alaskans in the MLB Draft
Pitcher Marshall Boze of Soldotna was the first Alaskan to play Major League Baseball, making his debut with the Milwaukee Brewers on April 28, 1996, against the Seattle Mariners. He retired all four batters he faced.
A month later he was closing games.
Boze earned his first save in just his seventh MLB game. He served as the team's setup man in his next two appearances and worked consecutive scoreless eight innings in back-to-back nights to earn a pair of holds. He had a 1.50 ERA through his first 10 MLB games.
In all, he pitched in 25 games in the 1996 season, finishing eight of them. He struck out 19 batters in 32.1 innings. He finished 0-2 with a 7.79 ERA.
He is the only Alaskan to save a MLB game.
The 6-foot-1, 214-pound righty was a man among boys in Alaska when he played American Legion baseball with Kenai Post 20. He scared hitters with his fastball, in part because he was wild.
“He was overwhelming,” said his Legion coach Lance Coz. “He was like the guy in ‘Bull Durham’ – boom, boom, boom, he’d strike out three batters and boom, boom, boom, he’d hit three batters.”
At the 1988 state tournament at Mulcahy Stadium he threw a 3-hitter and recroded a state record 21 strikeouts in a 6-1 loss to eventual state champion East Post 34.
Boze didn’t lack confidence on the mound. And it didn’t matter who was at the plate.
“He was built like a bull and when he hit Albert Belle he didn’t even think twice about backing down,” Coz said with a laugh. “That’s typical Marshall.”
In 10 minor-league seasons, Boze posted a 62-65 record in 246 career games. He completed 18 of his 159 starts and struck out 712 batters in 1,057 innings. His wins, strikeouts and innings are way ahead of any other pro pitcher from Alaska.
No Alaska baseball player did more with less than Chad Bentz of Juneau.
He made his Major League Baseball debut on April 7, 2004, becoming the second Alaskan to play in the Big Leagues.
He was also the second pitcher, after Jim Abbott, to play in the MLB after being born without one of his hands.
“I played baseball when I was younger, and got made fun of,” Bentz said in 2004. “I didn’t like going because all they did was make fun of me. So I didn’t play anymore. Then I saw Jim Abbott. He gave me the will to at least try playing again.”
Bentz is our role model.
In 2018, he was inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound southpaw pitched in 40 career games, more than any other player from Alaska. He played for the Montreal Expos in 2004 and the Florida Marlins in 2005.
Bentz finished 0-3 with a 5.86 ERA. He struck out 18 batters in 29.2 innings.
He is the only Alaskan to play in multiple MLB seasons.
Arguably his most impressive achievement is the fact that he is the only Alaskan with a base hit in the big leagues.
“Not bad for a boy who overcame many obstacles he faced in his life, both geographical and physical,” Bentz said.
Bentz played nine years in the minor leagues and racked up an 11-20 record with 23 saves in 235 appearances, almost all of them in relief.
Chris Mabeus of Soldotna had a short career in Major League Baseball.
He pitched in just one game for the Milwaukee Brewers on May 29, 2006, against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Mabeus struck out the first hitter he faced.
He came into the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with his team trailing 10-3. The first hit he gave up was a double to Jose Bautista. After that he retired the next two batters, including Jason Bay, who had homered in six straight games.
Mabeus struck out the first batter he faced in the eighth inning before things fell apart.
He threw three wild pitches and gave up four runs on three hits, including a home run to Jose Castillo.
“After I gave up the home run I started thinking way too much,” Mabeus said after the game. “I started thinking about the home run more than anything.”
In Alaska, the 6-foot-3, 233-pounder right-hander was a late bloomer.
“He’s a guy that got better with time,” said his Legion coach Lance Coz. “He was pretty quiet. He didn’t realize what his potential was until he started getting recognized more and more. It’s amazing when they make the comment that if you’re good enough they will find you – it’s true.”
Mabeus played six seasons in the minors, totally 244 games - the most among pro pitchers from Alaska. The relief pitcher collected a state record 34 saves to go with a solid 30-16 records. He struck out 370 batters in 394 innings.
Professional Baseball Players from Alaska
|Chad Bentz P Juneau||Tom Allison 2B Susitna Valley||Dustin Krug P Kodiak||Matt Way P Sitka|
|Marshall Boze P Soldotna||Cliff Anderson SS/2B Kodiak||Jamar Hill OF Anchorage||Jerome Johnson P Fairbanks|
|Chris Mabeus P Soldotna||Alex Jamieson C Anchorage||Chad Nading P Anchorage||Ryan Shaver P Fairbanks|
|Joey Newby P Soldotna||Dylan Baker P Juneau||Levi Robinson 3B Anchorage|
|Corey Madden P Anchorage||Trajan Langdon 3B Anchorage|
|Timothy Stanley 2B Anchorage|
|Brian Montalbo P Anchorage|
|Anton Maxwell P Anchorage|
|Joe Ayers SS Juneau|
|Toby Staveland P Juneau|
|Jeff Zitek SS Kenai|
|Jonny Homza C/3B Anchorage|
Content by Van Williams