Longtime PCL President Cutler Passes Away At 92
Bill Cutler, who served as Pacific Coast League president from 1979 to 1997 as part of 50 distinguished years in baseball, died at his home in Mesa, Ariz., on March 24. He was 92.
A press release issued by the PCL credits Cutler, the longest-tenured president in league history, with expanding the circuit into Canadian cities Edmonton (1981) and Calgary (1985). During Cutler's tenure as president, Colorado Springs, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Salt Lake City all built new ballparks, a sign of league prosperity.
"He honored the Pacific Coast League with his exemplary fairness and professionalism, his commitment to making the league better," current PCL president Branch Rickey Jr. is quoted as saying in the press release.
"I am, in turn, truly blessed to follow in his footsteps, privileged to carry on that special legacy. The successes of his almost-20-year tenure are embedded everywhere in the current prestige of the PCL. He will be missed—but long remembered and genuinely admired."
American League president Will Harridge hired Cutler as his administrative assistant in 1946, following Cutler's military service in World War II. A Milwaukee Journal story from 1955
depicts Cutler as something akin to director of player personnel and go-to authority on player transactions for the AL.
Cutler joined the Oakland Athletics front office in 1967, but he lasted just six months on the job due to a rift with owner Charlie Finley, according to Finley biographers G. Michael Green and Roger D. Launius. Cutler alleged that Finley had hired him as A's team vice president and general manager but that Finley backed out of the agreement and put Cutler to work in subsidiary positions, such as farm director.
Cutler joined the scouting department of the Montreal Expos soon after leaving Oakland, and in 1970 he purchased the PCL franchise in Portland, Ore., and relocated it to Spokane, Wash., in 1973. He served as general manager for the franchise in both locations.
Cutler sold the Spokane club in 1978 and ascended to PCL president the following year.