Blake Cullen, former Cubs, NL executive, dies at 85

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va, (AP) — Blake Cullen, an executive for the Chicago Cubs and the National League who went on to own minor league hockey, baseball and soccer teams, has died. He was 85.

Cullen died Monday at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, Chicago Blackhawks senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac, a former player and assistant coach of Cullen’s Hampton Admirals hockey team, said Wednesday.

A graduate of Cornell with a degree in hotel management, Cullen worked for a Chicago hotel after college and was the Cubs’ traveling secretary from 1965-75.

He moved to New York and became the National League’s administrator under league president Chub Feeney, serving as a key aide during rising labor turmoil that included a 50-day midseason strike in 1981.

Cullen was the first witness at the 1985 Pittsburgh drug trials that implicated several baseball players, testifying about team schedules.

Cullen left the NL when Feeney retired and was replaced by A. Barlett Giamatti in 1986. Cullen spent a year as owner of the Daytona Beach Admirals, a Chicago White Sox affiliate in the Class A Florida State League.

In 1989, he founded the Hampton Admirals of the East Coast Hockey League, a team he sold after the 1995-96 season. From 1997-98, he owned the Daytona Beach Speed Kings of the Eastern Indoor Soccer League.

Cullen had a stroke in 2011 and had been rehabilitating since as part of his recovery.

He is survived by a sister, Georgeanne Cullen, MacIsaac said.

Burial is planned at the family plot in Newport, Rhode Island. A celebration of life will be planned at a later date.

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