Lee Landers Named King of Baseball
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Minor League Baseball announced today that Lee Landers, president of the Appalachian League, has been named the 2017 King of Baseball. The King of Baseball is a long-standing tradition in which Minor League Baseball recognizes a veteran of professional baseball for longtime dedication and service.
Landers will receive the King of Baseball Award at the Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Landers' career in professional baseball began in 1959 in Fresno, and has included stops in Modesto, Twin Falls, Little Rock, Tulsa, New Orleans and Springfield, Missouri, 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.
Since 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 has had four of his Appalachian League teams (Bluefield, Burlington, Greeneville and Pulaski) honored with the Bob Freitas Award for the Short Season classification. Landers currently serves on MiLB's Game Operations and Umpire Development committees. He was inducted into the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.
"I was stunned when I received the call and I am very proud, honored and humbled to be chosen as the King of Baseball," said Landers. "To be included in a group with the likes of Roland Hemond and George Kissell, guys that I consider some of my mentors, is just a wonderful feeling and this is a great honor."
"Lee Landers has dedicated his career to professional baseball and is a tremendous ambassador for the game," said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O'Conner. "With his leadership, experience as a club operator and passion for the game, he has led the Appalachian League to new heights and it is my pleasure to honor him as the King of Baseball."
Landers resides in Redington Shores, Florida, with his wife of 59 years, Bobbi. The pair have five children, 10 grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
PREVIOUS KING OF BASEBALL AWARD WINNERS
1951 Clarence Rowland 1952 J. Alvin Gardner 1953 Frank Shaughnessy 1954 Shelby Pease 1955 Herman White 1956 Tommy Richardson 1957 Charles Hurth 1958 Not awarded 1959 Bonneau Peters 1960 Joe Engel 1961 Rosy Ryan 1962 Phil Howser 1963 Donnie Bush 1964 Eddie Mulligan 1965 Ray Winder 1966 Eddie Leishmann 1967 Alejo Peralta 1968 Dewey Soriano 1969 Chauncey DeVault 1970 George MacDonald 1971 Phil Piton 1972 Vince McNamara 1973 Ray Johnston 1974 Fred Haney 1975 Joe Buzas 1976 Don Avery 1977 Bill Weiss 1978 Zinn Beck 1979 Harry Simmons 1980 Billy Hitchcock 1981 Jack Schwarz 1982 Sy Berger 1983 Oscar Roettger 1984 Donald Davidson 1985 Stan Wasiak 1986 Lefty Gomez 1987 Bill Schweppe 1988 Max Patkin 1989 George Sisler, Jr.
1990 John Moss 1991 George Pfister 1992 John Lipon 1993 George Kissell 1994 Jimmy Bragan 1995 Gene DaCosse 1996 S. "Chief" Bender 1997 Max Schumacher 1998 Leo Pinckney 1999 Tom Saffell 2000 Pat McKernan 2001 Roland Hemond 2002 George Zuraw 2003 Bob Wilson 2004 Dave Rosenfield 2005 Calvin Falwell 2006 Paul Snyder 2007 Dave Walker 2008 Pat Gillick 2009 Milo Hamilton 2010 Don Mincher 2011 Chito Rodriguez 2012 George McGonagle 2013 Charlie Eshbach 2014 Bill Valentine 2015 William Gladstone 2016 Dave Elmore
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