The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame today announced that Wayne Norton has been elected to join the Hall as a member of the 2016 Class. The induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, June 18 in St. Marys, Ontario, Canada.
Norton will be joined in the 2016 class by former Blue Jays pitcher Pat Hentgen, former Expos pitcher Dennis Martinez, longtime Blue Jays executive Howard Starkman, former Blue Jays TV analyst Tony Kubek and baseball pioneer William Shuttleworth (posthumous).
“We’re proud to honor such a diverse class. Each of the new inductees has made a significant contribution to baseball in Canada in their own unique way,” said Scott Crawford, Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Director of Operations.
Norton, a native of Port Moody, British Columbia, has been a Mariners scout covering Canada since 2000. Players he has scouted and signed include current Mariners prospect Tyler O’Neill, and former members of the Mariners organization Michael Saunders, Phillippe Aumont and Tyson Gillies. Norton was named the Mariners International Scout of the Year in 2007, and Canadian Scout of the Year by the Canadian Baseball Network in 1998 and 2013.
“The phone call informing me of my induction made me very happy,” Norton said. “It will certainly be an honor to be included in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. It is gratifying to have my contributions to baseball in Canada recognized and valued by my peers and acknowledged by the selection committee.”
“This is a well-deserved honor for Wayne,” Mariners Director of Amateur Scouting Tom McNamara said. “He has spent a lifetime developing, nurturing and recognizing baseball talent in Canada.”
“It is fitting that Wayne’s tremendous work with the Mariners amateur and international scouting departments and all his other accolades throughout his baseball career are being recognized by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame,” added Mariners Director of International Scouting Tim Kissner. “This award couldn’t go to a more deserving individual, as Wayne has truly had an impact on all aspects of baseball in Canada. It is an honor to be able to work with him.”
Norton played over 1,200 games in the minor leagues before becoming a trailblazing baseball executive and scout in Canada. In the mid-1970s, Norton founded and established Baseball Canada’s Junior National Team and he became a long-time coach and manager for the organization, while doubling as a part-time scout for the Montreal Expos. He also managed Canada’s Pan Am Games team in 1975, prior to helping to launch Baseball B.C. two years later. In the late 1970s, he was enlisted to create and write Baseball Canada’s first coaching manuals and many of the guidelines from those are still employed today.
In 1986, Norton established the National Baseball Institute (NBI) in Vancouver. Among the NBI graduates to play in the big leagues are 2015 Canadian Baseball Hall of Famers Matt Stairs (Fredericton, N.B.) and Corey Koskie (Anola, Man.), as well as Denis Boucher (Montreal, Que.), Steve Sinclair (Victoria, B.C.), Paul Spoljaric (Kelowna, B.C.), Rob Butler (East York, Ont.), Jason Dickson (Miramichi, N.B.), Aaron Guiel (Vancouver, B.C.) and Derek Aucoin (Lachine, Que.).
After leaving the NBI in 1994, Norton evolved into one of Canada’s most respected baseball scouts. He scouted for the Baltimore Orioles from 1996 to 1999 prior to joining the Seattle Mariners in 2000.