Norton hung with Hank, then was backbone of Canadian sandlot ball

Photo: Wayne Norton (left) with Baseball Hall of Fame member Hank Aaron in 1983.


Norton among 2016 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductees
Feb. 2, 2016


By Adam Morissette
Baseball Canada

The 2016 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction class was revealed earlier today from St. Marys, Ontario and includes former Toronto Blue Jay and Cy Young Award winner Pat Hentgen, former Montreal Expo Dennis Martinez, longtime Toronto Blue Jays Executive Howard Starkman, former Blue Jays TV Analyst Tony Kubek, the late William Shuttleworth and longtime Scout and former Coach and General Manager with Baseball Canada’s National Teams Wayne Norton.

The induction ceremony is set to take place on the grounds of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ontario on June 18th.

“We’re proud to honour 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, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s director of operations in a news release. “We’re looking forward to celebrating their careers in St. Marys this June.”

After a professional playing career that consisted of over 1200 minor league games, Wayne Norton began a stint with Baseball Canada that saw him coach teams that participated in the World Senior and Intercontinental Championships in 1973 and 1974 before managing the club that represented Canada at the 1975 Pan Am Games in Mexico City. He was also largely responsible for creating Baseball Canada’s Level 2 coaching manual in the late 1970’s. The Port Moody, BC native shifted his focus to the National Baseball Institute in 1986 as he created a place for some of Canada’s top up-and-coming players to hone their skills including future big leaguers Denis Boucher, Paul Spoljaric, Rob Butler, Jason Dickson, Aaron Guiel, Corey Koskie and Matt Stairs.

In 1996, Baltimore Orioles General Manager, and former minor league opponent, Pat Gillick , hired Norton as a scout, which led to a scouting position with the Seattle Mariners when Gillick became GM of the American League West club in 2000. Since then Norton has covered Canada and Europe for the M’s and is responsible for signing big leaguers Greg Halman (deceased), Alex Liddi and Canadian Phillippe Aumont. Norton also signed Tyler O’Neill, a Junior National Team grad and rising Mariners prospect.

“The phone call informing me of my induction made me very happy,” said Norton in a statement. “It will certainly be an honour to be included in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. I am extremely grateful to my friends who nominated me, and to my baseball colleagues and family who supported my nomination. Their regard means a great deal to me. It is gratifying to have my contributions to baseball in Canada recognized and valued by my peers and acknowledged by the selection committee. I look forward to what promises to be a fantastic couple of days in St. Marys!”

Starkman was hired by the Blue Jays in 1976 as director of public relations and stayed in the role until 1998. In 1999, he was elevated to VP Media Relations with the Blue Jays, before transitioning to VP, special projects from 2002-2014. Starkman served as Media Relations Liason for Team Canada during the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006 and played a major role in bringing the WBC to Rogers Centre in Toronto in 2009.

Comment

Adam Morissette

Adam Morissette was born and raised in Ottawa, Ont. where sports were always a big part of his life whether it be baseball, hockey or football, including playing two seasons as centre for coach Pat Sheahan with the Queen's University Golden Gaels in Kingston -- Canada's first capital. Morissette has always have been passionate about baseball and has fond memories of attending Montreal Expos games with his father, Mike, and listening to his recollection of watching baseball in Montreal at Jarry Park and stories about Gary Carter, Rusty Staub and Steve Rodgers. Morissette could often be found in a near empty Lynx Stadium watching Joe Siddall, Bert Heffernan, Curtis Pride and Jamie Carroll soaking in a beautiful summer night at the ballpark. He was a member of the provincial championship Orleans Red Sox Little League teams also played with the Ottawa White Sox for the late Lyle Anderson and Todd Burke in OBA Midget and American Legion play and the Capital City Crushers (NCBL), primarily as a catcher. Has also spent time coaching Little League in Orleans and South Ottawa. He wanted to turn his passion into a career and enrolled in Sport Business Management at Algonquin College in Ottawa in 2007. After working for the Ottawa 67's OHL team as the Ticket Coordinator, Morissette jumped at the opportunity to become the Media and Public Relations Coordinator with Baseball Canada in 2010. He loves watching and reading about pro, college or amateur baseball and is a long-time subscriber to Baseball America. Morissette is thrilled about the idea of writing about baseball and is interested in covering any story that his car -- and time -- will allow him to cover.