By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Norm Cutliff is the 74 year old league president of the Taos, New Mexico MSBL, located in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet. “Considering our talent pool we all play somewhere between the eight and 80 age range,” explained Cutliff.
Whether a large league or one a little smaller, passion cannot be measured by size. Steve Sigler has seen the dedication of Norm, as well as his continued support of the MSBL World Series, and has inducted Norm into the MSBL National Hall of Fame.
Norm and Janie, his wife of over forty years, have been hard at work keeping things going, along with his buddy Marty Remaly, who co-founded the league with Norm in 1993. But they still find time to get to Arizona for the MSBL World Series every year. The Taos Solar Sox are a fixture down in the valley of the sun.
“We’ve taken a team to the World Series every year since 1995 and even though our talent pool in this very small mountain town is shallower than my granddaughter’s wading pool, we have had a solid 24 years as an MSBL league and there seems to be no end in sight,” explained Norm.
“I began playing in my early 50’s in Taos,” said Cutliff. “In fact that was when I first started playing baseball, period. I had never played a sport before! But I was always intrigued by baseball so I gave it a shot.”
Norm picked one of the toughest positions to begin his career on the diamond. He pitches. “I am a hurler of 90 mph ‘heat’ from the mound, according to my allowing a variance to the way stats are recorded, which allows me to add two 45 mph heaters and record as one pitch at 90 mph!”
“Janie’s uncle was a left-handed pitcher and he had a son who was also left-handed and pitched, but sadly went down in his fighter plane in Germany during World War II. It gives me pause when I consider that it seemed that I was destined to somehow ‘come out of the locker’ and learn how to be a left-handed pitcher.”
Norm began his adult life as a Hollywood stunt man! “I performed stunt work in a few movies, mainly on motorcycles including one for Steve McQueen,” he said. “I then went through a buffet of life with my wife and two kids and we moved to Taos in the early 90’s. I learned of the early history of baseball in the early 1900’s in Taos and was surprised that it totally stopped around 1917.”
Enter Marty Remaly. “My best friend in baseball, Marty Remaly, and I started baseball up again in Taos in 1993. He taught me how to throw a baseball and occasionally be able to hit one. When people asked me why I even thought of starting a baseball league I said, “It’s my league and if they won’t let me play then I’ll take my league and go home.”
A baseball league in Taos, New Mexico? The mountains, the ski area, the Nordic activities? “In truth there is a wonderful bunch of the neatest guys in the world in this small mountain town who have embraced me as a student of the game and cared enough to help with the upkeep of our one and only field. We all solidly love and enjoy the advantages of being involved with the MSBL system and family. I am just their mechanic keeping it together for all of us for the love of the game.”
What does this award mean to you? “I realize that MSBL is a business but there is an aspect of Steve Sigler and MSBL that shines above it just being a ‘business’. There is a sensitivity and caring for the reality of aging athletes of differing abilities. My personal affiliation with MSBL ranks right up there with the blessing I have in my family, my Eagle Scout rank and being a card carrying union member of the Screen Actor’s Guild.”