Canadian scouting legend Wayne Norton throws out first pitch for M's
Longtime Seattle Mariners scout Wayne Norton threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Saturday’s game vs. Cleveland. Norton was diagnosed with ALS in June of 2015.
Norton, a native of Port Moody, British Columbia, has been a Mariners scout covering Canada since 2000. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016. 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.
Mariners left-hander James Paxton, a native of Ladner, British Columbia, Canada, caught Norton’s first pitch.
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.