Landis Sims, 10, Defies the Odds on the Baseball Field

Friday, December 2, 2016

Landis Sims is your classic 10-year-old boy: He loves baseball.

Like many kids who love baseball, he dreams of playing in the major league when he grows up — more precisely, he wants to play for his favorite team, the New York Yankees.

But what makes Landis’ story unique — and what makes his accomplishments on the baseball diamond so remarkable — is that because of a congenital limb deficiency, Landis was born missing his hands and feet.

“He’s very confident in who he is and his baseball abilities,” says Amanda Haag, Landis’ mom. “He’ll be the first one to tell you: He’s going to play in the MLB. He’s going to be the first Yankee to be missing all four limbs.”

Landis, of Elizabeth, Indiana, wears prosthetics to help him hit and run when playing baseball, and he visits on the Scheck & Siress clinic at UI Health to get fitted for state-of-the-art prosthetics that will help him compete at this best on the diamond. A recent visit to the Scheck & Siress clinic is featured in an upcoming documentary, “Landis: Just Watch Me.”

While Landis dreams of playing for the Yankees when he grows up, he got a taste of that dream in March when the ball club signed him to a one-day minor league contract during spring training. Landis joined the team in Tampa, Florida, and took batting practice alongside Yankee all-stars like Alex Rodriguez.

“The determination that he has, it’s made it easier to handle the challenges that we have because he’s so willing to just face it head-on,” says Amanda. “He’s had a couple of people that have told him that he can’t do something or that he’s not going to do it well, and his mentality has always been: ‘Just watch me.’ That mentality that he has is what makes him so special.”

Though folks around him often remark about how special is and much he inspires them, Landis sees himself much more simply: “I’m a baseball player,” he says.