(Photo: The Norton family with Port Moody Councillor Diana Dilworth, Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay, and Tim Kissner,Director of International Operations at Seattle Mariners.)
On Saturday, May 12, 2018, Port Moody’s Mayor and Council officially dedicated the Wayne Norton Baseball Diamond in Westhill Park, in honour of the late Wayne Norton, a long-time resident of Port Moody who was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.
“On behalf of the City of Port Moody, I’m very pleased to name this baseball diamond in Wayne Norton’s honour,” said Mayor Mike Clay. “Mr. Norton was a true hero, an exceptional role model who gave so much to the sport of baseball, and to the lives he touched in our community, across Canada, and south of the border. He was an inspiration to many, and I’m glad his family could be here as we show our gratitude and celebrate Mr. Norton’s legacy.”
Norton, who lived with his family on Port Moody’s North Shore for more than 50 years, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1942. He grew up and attended school in Port Moody, and then went to Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington on an athletic scholarship. Norton was scouted by the New York Yankees while in Spokane, and went on to play in 1,206 minor league games for AA and AAA teams, including the Vancouver Mounties AAA team owned by Nat Bailey.
When his playing days were over, Norton became a baseball administrator and manager. He was technical director of Baseball BC and, in the mid-1970s, he established Baseball Canada’s Junior National Team. He managed Team Canada at the Pan American Games in 1975. In 1986, Norton and Pat Gillick, who was general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, founded the National Baseball Institute in Vancouver, which produced several major league players in its 14-year run, including Matt Stairs and Corey Koskie.
Norton was a well-respected scout who worked with the Montreal Expos, Baltimore Orioles, and Seattle Mariners. He was named Canadian Scout of the Year twice, in 1998 and 2013, by the Canadian Baseball Network, and he was the Mariners’ International Scout of the Year in 2007. During his lengthy career, Norton played alongside, scouted, or managed a number of top-level talents, including Reggie Jackson, Hank Aaron, Larry Walker, and Michael Saunders.
In 2015, the City presented Norton with a Port Moody Sports Award for his contributions to the community and the sport of baseball. In that same year, Norton was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and he passed away in January 2018. The Wayne Norton Baseball Diamond, located in Westhill Park (203 Westhill Place), is used regularly by the Coquitlam-Moody Minor Baseball Association.