SEATTLE -- Wayne Norton, a highly respected international scout who covered Canada for the past 17 years for the Mariners, has died at age 75, the club confirmed on Saturday.Norton had been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) since being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in June 2015.Even while dealing with
SEATTLE -- Wayne Norton, a highly respected international scout who covered Canada for the past 17 years for the Mariners, has died at age 75, the club confirmed on Saturday.
Norton had been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) since being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in June 2015.
Even while dealing with ALS, Norton continued scouting for the Mariners over the last two years with the help of his wife, Trudy. The two had been married for 55 years. Norton was honored by the Mariners on Sept. 23, throwing out the first pitch of one of the final games of the season at Safeco Field.
"Wayne was responsible for thousands of young players in Canada having the opportunity to grow through the game of baseball, and for hundreds of young players having a chance to play professionally," said Tom Allison, Mariners vice president of scouting. "More than that, he was truly one of the great gentlemen in the game. Our thoughts tonight are with his wife, Trudy, daughter, Beth, son, Steven, and three grandchildren."
Norton was elected into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016 and scouted and helped sign numerous current and former Mariners, including James Paxton, Michael Saunders, Tyler O'Neill, Phillippe Aumont, Gareth Morgan and Tyson Gillies.
He also helped scout numerous other international players, including Alex Liddi, Dylan Unsworth and the late Greg Halman.
"Wayne served as both a role model and a mentor for so many young scouts and coaches in both professional and amateur baseball," said Tom McNamara, Mariners special assistant to the general manager. "When I was hired by the Mariners as scouting director in 2008, it took me exactly one meeting with Wayne to know that I never had to worry about having Canada covered."
The native of Port Moody, British Columbia, 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.
Norton played baseball for Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash., and went on to play in more than 1,200 games in the Minor Leagues as an outfielder for the Yankees, Royals and A's from 1961-70 before becoming a baseball executive and scout in Canada. In the mid-1970s, he founded Baseball Canada's Junior National Team and served as a coach and manager for that organization, while also working as a part-time scout for the Expos.
Norton also managed Canada's Pan Am Games team in 1975 and then helped launch Baseball B.C. two years later. In 1986, Norton established the National Baseball Institute (NBI) in Vancouver, a program that produced numerous Major League players, including Matt Stairs and Corey Koskie.
After leaving the NBI in 1994, Norton became one of Canada's most-respected scouts and worked for the Orioles from 1996-99 before being hired by former Seattle GM Pat Gillick to join the Mariners in 2000.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.