Longtime Minor League Baseball executive and Appalachian League President Emeritus Lee Landers passed away from natural causes Monday at the age of 83.
Former Pulaski Mayor Jeff Worrell said of Landers today, “Great guy, he kept baseball in Pulaski. He believed in Pulaski when no one else did.”
During the 2017 Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, Landers was named the 2017 King of Baseball, an honor that recognizes a veteran of professional baseball for longtime dedication and service.
Landers’ career in professional baseball began in 1959 in Fresno, and included stops in Modesto, Twin Falls, Little Rock, Tulsa, New Orleans and Springfield, Illinois, where he was named General Manager of the Springfield Cardinals after the 1981 season. During his 12-year tenure with Springfield, he received Executive of the Year honors and the Promotional Award of Excellence, and was a nine-time winner of the Midwest League’s Gold Award for excellence in operations. Landers was named Vice President of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1986.
After taking the reins of the Appalachian League in 1996, Landers was honored with the Warren Giles Award for outstanding service as a Minor League President in 2001, was presented the first annual Bowie Kuhn Award from Baseball Chapel in 2008 and had four of his Appalachian League teams (Bluefield, Burlington, Greeneville and Pulaski) honored with the Bob Freitas Award for the Short Season classification. Landers also served on Minor League Baseball’s Game Operations and Umpire Development committees. He was inducted into the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Appalachian League Hall of Fame in 2019.
“Lee transformed the Appalachian League and really took the league to new heights in his 23 years at the helm,” said current Appalachian League President Dan Moushon. “Lee was a tremendous leader, a mentor to so many and a friend to everyone he met in his 60 years in professional baseball. He was truly beloved by all.”
“Lee Landers dedicated his career to professional baseball and was an incredible ambassador for the game,” said former Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. “Lee’s leadership skills and passion for professional baseball were second to none and he will be greatly missed by so many throughout the game. My condolences go out to Lee’s wife, Bobbi, and their beautiful family.”
Landers is survived by his wife, Bobbi, their five children and their families.
By Jeff Lantz, For MILB.com