After 23 years in charge of the Rookie-level Appalachian League, Lee Landers is set to retire at the conclusion of the 2018 season.
"I'm honored to have led the Appalachian League since 1996, and I am so proud of where the league is now and where it is headed," Landers said in a release announcing his plans. "The league is as strong as it has ever been and the group of people operating teams in the Appalachian League are second to none. I'll be leaving the league in good hands and look forward to watching the league continue to prosper in the future."
Landers’ professional career spans seven decades, from 1959 in Fresno until his present position, and included stops as the general manager of the Midwest League’s Springfield Cardinals for 12 seasons and a tenure as the vice president of the St. Louis Cardinals. Three Appy League teams have been honored with Baseball America’s Freitas Awards during his tenure as the league’s president.
Burlington Royals vice president Dan Moushon has been named as Landers’ successor.
"I am excited for the opportunity to lead the Appalachian League and it is an honor and privilege to follow such a great man in this role," Moushon said. "Lee has been a great friend for 30 years and is one of the most highly-respected men in the game of baseball. His career and accomplishments speak for themselves."
Moushon’s tenure will begin on Jan. 1, 2019. Though retired, Landers will continue to serve the Appy League as its president emeritus.
"Lee Landers has dedicated his career to professional baseball and the game, and certainly the Appalachian League, is better because of his contributions," said Pat O’Conner, the president of Minor League Baseball. "While I congratulate him on his retirement, his leadership will be missed by everyone associated with the Appalachian League, from club employees to managers, umpires and the countless fans he has befriended at ballparks over the years."
International League president Randy Mobley also shared warm thoughts about Landers.
"As a man of great faith and character, Lee Landers has fulfilled the role of Appalachian League president with dignity and class and the respect that I, and my fellow league presidents, have for him is immeasurable," said Randy Mobley, the chairman of Minor League Baseball's council of league presidents. "Lee has been a great role model for all league presidents as he has been a passionate advocate for his Appalachian League teams and there has been no one around the table at our meetings with greater integrity and love for the game than Lee Landers. He is a true friend and mentor for us all and we look forward to celebrating his final year in office with him."
The Appy League will undergo a small change this year, with the Astros departing Greeneville and the Reds entering in their stead.