Norton joined the Mariners in 2000 and serves as the scouting coordinator for Canada and Europe. He is credited with signing several players, including former Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders and current outfield prospect Tyler O’Neill.
"The phone call informing me of my induction made me very happy," said Norton, a native of Port Moody, British Columbia. "It will certainly be an honor 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."
Norton, 73, is one of six inductees in this year’s class.
The others are former pitchers Pat Hentgen and Dennis Martinez, former infielder and broadcaster Tony Kubek, long-time Blue executive Howard Starkman and baseball pioneer William Shuttleworth.
"This award couldn't go to a more deserving individual," said Tim Kissner, the Mariners’ director of international scouting. "Wayne has truly had an impact on all aspects of baseball in Canada."
Norton was chosen as the Mariners’ International Scout of the Year in 2007, and Canadian Scout of the Year by the Canadian Baseball Network in 1998 and 2013.
"This is a well-deserved honor for Wayne," said Tom McNamara, the club’s director of amateur scouting. "He has spent a lifetime developing, nurturing and recognizing baseball talent in Canada."
Norton played 10 years from 1961-70 as a minor-league outfielder before becoming a baseball executive and scout in Canada. He founded and helped establish Baseball Canada’s Junior National Team in the mid-1970s.
While serving as a coach and manager for that team, Norton also worked as a part-time scout for the Montreal Expos. He founded the National Baseball Institute in 1986, which is based in Vancouver and remains a model for other academies.
NBI graduates include several major-league players, including Matt Stairs, Aaron Guiel and Corey Koskie.
After leaving the academy, Norton became a full-time scout for Baltimore in 1996 under general manager Pat Gillick. When Gillick joined the Mariners, he brought Norton along with him.
"It is gratifying," Norton said, "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."
The honor bestowed on Norton speaks, in part, to the Mariners’ emphasis in international scouting.
While Norton’s efforts produced some notable signings, it’s often difficult to rate an organization’s overall success in international operations because those players typically involve a higher risk.
Baseball America provides one evaluation through its annual Prospect Handbook, which remains the industry standard for evaluating prospects within each organization and throughout the game.
Prior to each season, Baseball America rates the Top 30 prospects in each organization. (It’s a well-researched evaluation but, yes, it’s subjective.)
Even so, from that, it’s easy enough to count the number of players among the 900 prospects (30 teams times 30 prospects) who were international signings — and which club signed them (regardless of where they’re currently playing).
There are some flaws in the count in that it only covers prospects. International signings who have already reached the majors are not included. For all that, it still provides a uniform measurement for all 30 organizations.
This year’s count shows the Mariners with 11 international signings among the Handbook’s 900 prospects.
Only six organizations had more: Texas had 18, followed by Minnesota with 15, Boston with 14, Kansas City and Toronto with 13, and the New York Yankees with 12. Washington matched the Mariners with 11.
At the bottom: Milwaukee with three, the Chicago White Sox with four, and Baltimore, Cincinnati and Oakland with three apiece.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners