Greg Norton (baseball)
Norton (left) with the Braves in 2008
|Third baseman / First baseman|
|Born: July 6, 1972|
San Leandro, California
|August 18, 1996, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 2009, for the Atlanta Braves|
|Runs batted in||338|
Norton spent 13 years in the big leagues with six teams from 1996 through 2009. He began his coaching career with the Florida Marlins in 2010, and later served as hitting coach from 2013-15 at Auburn University. In January 2015, he joined the Red Sox organization.
Born in San Leandro, California, Norton attended the University of Oklahoma. Norton's father Jerry was convicted of murder after the 1989 strangulation death of his wife. Jerry Norton was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Chicago White SoxEdit
Norton made his major league debut on August 18, 1996 for the Chicago White Sox, entering the game against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning as a pinch-runner for designated hitter Harold Baines. He would score his first run three batters later on a two-out RBI single by left fielder Tony Phillips. Norton would get his first major league base hit the very next night facing the Detroit Tigers, when he singled against reliever José Lima as a pinch-hitter. His most productive year in Chicago came in 1999, when he hit .255 while getting 50 RBI and hitting 16 homers despite splitting playing time at first base with 3 other players (including slugger Frank Thomas).
Playing for the Colorado Rockies from the 2001 season until 2003, Norton compiled a .252 batting average in 344 games played. Norton played four positions for the Rockies his first year with the team, including starting at first base for All-Star Todd Helton for the only five games Helton rested that year. In his final year with the Rockies, Norton led the majors in successful pinch hits and pinch-hit RBI. However, he was granted free agency at the end of the 2003 season.
2004 was a forgettable year for Norton, as he split time with the Detroit Tigers and their minor-league team, Toledo. Tigers first baseman Carlos Peña led the team in home runs that year, leaving very little room for Norton. A knee inflammation also kept him on the disabled list for over a month.
Tampa Bay RaysEdit
On January 11, 2006, he signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He was brought up to the majors on April 26 when Jorge Cantú was placed on the disabled list. In Norton's first year as a D-Ray, he bested his season home run total (17) and started a career high 26 games in right field. He missed making the 2007 Opening Day roster while going under the knife to surgically repair his right knee. On Mother's Day, May 14, 2006, Norton was one of more than 50 hitters who brandished a pink bat to benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation.
On February 13, 2008, Norton signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training with the Seattle Mariners. He was purchased from the minors and added to the active roster on April 11, 2008 when Charlton Jimerson was designated for assignment. On April 30, Norton was designated for assignment despite batting .438 in 16 at-bats.
In 2008 Norton signed an $800K major league contract for the length of one year to return with the Braves. In 2009, he collected only 11 hits after 76 at-bats with Atlanta.
In July 2013, Norton was named hitting coach for the Auburn Tigers. He had left his position in the Marlins minor league system to join coach Sunny Golloway at Auburn.
In 2015, Norton started his new job as hitting coordinator for the Red Sox.
- Red Sox announce minor league field staffs, hire former big leaguer Greg Norton. WEEI.com. Retrieved on January 15, 2016.
- Baldwin, Mike (April 12, 1998). "Refuge for the Soul: Baseball Takes Norton's Mind Off Family Tragedy". NewsOK.com.
- 2008 Major League Baseball PH/HR/Situ Hitting. Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-21.
- Former Major League to coach hitters for Auburn. Auburn Tigers official website. Retrieved on January 15, 2016.