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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Michael Landsman aced umpire school test, got minors job; Quickly felt burned out

The Chicago Tribune visited the Joe Brinkman Umpire School in early 1989 and sat in on the final exam for student umpire Michael Landsman.

Landsman had six minutes to prove his worth in a testy baseball scenario, The Tribune wrote. He ended up ejecting an entire bench of players.

"It's not easy to throw everybody out like that," Landsman told The Tribune afterward. "But I think I did okay. I did what I was supposed to do, what they expected me to do. At least I hope I did."

When the grades came in, Landsman had passed. He was a professional umpire.

His career calling balls and strikes, however, proved brief. He appears to have umpired for just four seasons, before moving on to other pursuits. 

He spent at least two seasons of that career in the short-season New York-Penn League, where, early in the 1990 campaign he made it onto a baseball card, the one for Pittsfield Mets manager Jim Eschen. He's there, on the left. (Why that appears to be so)

Landsman's umpiring career began that year in the NYPL, as a 22-year-old from Edison, N.J.

He umpired an August 1989 game between Elmira and Hamilton. He then umpired the opening series in 1990 between Oneonta and Pittsfield.

That August, he spoke with The Minneapolis Star Tribune about the hardships of umpiring in the minors.

"The easiest part is on the field. That's your vacation," Landsman told The Star-Tribune. "The toughest part is living: the rigors of travel, being alone. You go through so much crap. You get burned out. I was burned out at the end of last season."

Landsman appears to have continued as an umpire for two more seasons after that, before leaving baseball and changing careers.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,663
Made the Majors:1,252-34.2%
Never Made Majors:2,411-65.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:522
10+ Seasons in the Minors:308

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