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
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.