2007 Scout of the Year Norsetter

 * Howie Norsetter used to cover Canada in the summer and Australia in the winter. One summer he signed future MVP Justin Morneau and drafted him in the third round. ....  


By Bob Elliott

On the first weekend after the annual June draft, we pick our annual scout of the year. It is never easy, save for June of 2007. Howie Norsetter of the Minnesota Twins is the Canadian Baseball Network’s 14th annual scout of the year. He signed Justin Morneau as an 18-year-old catcher out of New Westminster, B.C., drafting him in the third-round of 1999 draft.. Norsetter now lives in Sydney, Australia. He used to have two areas of coverage: Canada in the summer and Australia in the winter -- which, of course, is their summer. Talk about frequent flyer miles. “I was excited when I heard he was named MVP,” Norsetter told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “As a scout, that’s the pinnacle: Signing an MVP or an all-star. “But it’s icing on the cake. The nuts and bolts of the job are getting players into the system who have the tools and makeup to succeed.” Norsetter had a heart attack and nearly died in 2002 during a heat wave at the University Games in southern Italy. When he awoke, doctors apologized because his chest was smoking. They’d burned him with the paddles. Like most scouts, he asked when he could go back to work. Finds such as Morneau allow the Twins, usually 19th or 20th in team payroll, to make a run at the playoffs. After growing up in Madison, Wisc., Norsetter was one of the top amateur hitters in the state during the 1980s. He coached. He drove cabs. He met Twins scouting director Terry Ryan. And in 1990, Norsetter was hired as a scout. Norsetter also signed Corey Koskie, of Anola, Man., a 26th- rounder in 1994, and played a part in acquiring David Arias from the Seattle Mariners in 1996. You may know Arias now as David Ortiz. In all, Norsetter has signed 12 major-leaguers. Norsetter said he read the headline “Twins scout honoured” and thought Jim Ridley had won. “I opened up the story and surprise -- I had won,” he said years later. Previous scout of the year winners were Bill Scherrer of Buffalo, (Marlins); Bill McKenzie of Ottawa (Rockies); Tim Harkness of Oshawa (Padres); Cambridge’s Ed Heather (Jays); Wayne Norton of Port Moody, BC (Orioles), Walt Jefferies of Paris, Ont. (Blue Jays); Claude Pelletier (Mets) of Ste-Lezare, Que., the late Jim Kane (Braves) of Brampton, Ken Lenihan of Beford, N.S. (Major League Baseball Bureau), Dick Groch of Mount Pleasant, Mich. (Yankees), Burlington's Jim Ridley (Twins), Walt Burrows (Brentwood Bay, BC) MLB Scouting Bureau and Montreal's Alex Agostino (Phillies).