by Mike Magers
Terry Landrum is from Albuquerque, New Mexico and graduated from Highland High School. He was a good high school athlete with a desire to play professional baseball, despite not playing the sport in high school. Landrum wanted to attend junior college rather than a four year college, but he caught the eye of the baseball coach of a small school, Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilbarton. However, only a couple of months into his freshman year, he signed as an undrafted free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club.
Despite the quick start, his professional career was a long time developing as he slowly worked his way up from A ball in 1973 to AAA before breaking into the big leagues in 1980. His minor league stops included Orangeburg (A) in the Western Carolina League, St. Petersburg (A+) in the Florida State League, Arkansas (AA) in the Texas League, and Tulsa and Springfield (AAA) in the American Association.
He began his nine year career as an outfielder in Major League Baseball with the Cardinals on July 23, 1980 at age 25, playing with them from 1980 to 1983 before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles late in the season. He rejoined the Cardinals from 1984 to 1987. Late in the 1987 season, he was released by the Cardinals and picked up as a free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers for the remainder of the 1987 season. His final year in the big leagues was 1988 when he returned to the Orioles. Landrum played his final game in the majors on May 9, 1988 at age 33.
Landrum relates that he tried to get a job in baseball upon retiring as a player but none were forthcoming. That door being closed, he resumed his college education at New York University, where he obtained a B.S. degree in Physical Therapy. He was honored by being selected to make the valedictory address to his graduating class, though others had a higher grade point average. He commented that this honor exceeded the thrill of appearing in three World Series in baseball.
Terry believes that he learned valuable life lessons in his baseball career. He never gave up, despite it taking him eight years to reach the major leagues. And once he achieved that, he said “I was not an everyday player. I would stay late and listen to everybody. I accepted criticism. That was the only way to learn.” [New York Times Archive, November 22, 1998] Applying these lessons to his education, he then engaged his work ethic to learning, devoted the time to his education that it required and remained teachable and inquisitive, giving him a life after baseball.