Written By: Corey Tremble, Detroit Tigers
It is with deep respect and gratitude that the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society announce the retirement of Mark Letendre, Major League Baseball’s Director of Umpire Medical Services, following the completion of the 2019 season.
After a twenty-year tenure, Letendre will bid farewell to the position he helped create with former Commissioner Selig and in 2000. The medical oversight for Major League Baseball’s 70+ umpires has strengthened immensely during his stewardship and he created the gold standard of health care for professional sports officiating.
The University of Maine-Orono graduate began his baseball career as a minor league athletic trainer in the New York Yankees system, ascending the ranks to become the major league assistant athletic trainer to the legendary Gene Monahan in 1982. Following four years with the Yankees big league club, Mark was named the head athletic trainer of the San Francisco Giants, where he would remain for the next decade and a half.
Giving back to his profession, the community, and the people he cared for over the years has been Mark’s true passion. An active member of charitable causes, such as the Baseball Assistance Team and the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Greater Scottsdale, a key member of numerous professional organizations such as the National Athletic Trainers Association, the Arizona Athletic Trainers Association, and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Trainers Association, as well as an informative voice in the education of concussion management as a member of the Major League Baseball Medical Advisory Committee and the Founding Co-Chair of the Concussion Summit, Letendre has selflessly given his time to others.
As a charter member of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society, Letendre helped create and implement many of the initiatives and programs that continue to thrive today. The PBATS Spit Tobacco Program, the growth of the relationship between PBATS and the NATA, the PBATS Alumni Committee, the Product Review, the PBATS Celebrity Golf Outing, the strengthening of the Minor League Medical Coordinators group within PBATS, and the introduction of chiropractic medicine into the professional baseball community, were all possible due to Mark’s tireless efforts.
The three-time Hall of Famer loved to see PBATS flourish from its early beginnings and pushed his colleagues to want more for their profession.
Mark is credited with paving the way for the addition of the Major League Assistant Athletic Trainer in the MLB Players Association, as well as the MLBPA Pension Program. He continues to mentor and nourish the next generation of athletic trainers and health care providers of professional baseball while making sure that those who paved the way are remembered in the light they deserve.
The Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society would like to once again thank Mark Letendre for his years of service to the society, for the care he showed to others, and for the contributions, he made to the game of baseball. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and continued support of the athletic training profession.