Norris Stephen Hopper (born March 24, 1979) is an American former professional baseball outfielder who played three seasons of Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cincinnati Reds. Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the eighth round of the 1998 Major League Baseball draft, Hopper made his MLB debut on August 20, 2006 with the Cincinnati Reds. He has a major league career .316 batting average with 125 hits, 15 doubles, two triples, one home run, 20 runs batted in, and 17 stolen bases.
|Born: March 24, 1979|
Shelby, North Carolina
|August 20, 2006, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 1, 2008, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Runs batted in||20|
At 5 feet 11 inches (1.8 m) and 205 pounds (93 kg), Hopper played all three outfield positions for the Reds. A skilled defender, he recorded just one error in his career, finishing with a .996 fielding percentage. Though he lacked power as a hitter, he was adept at hitting for contact, allowing him to utilize his speed and athleticism to beat out singles and bunt for base hits.
Hopper spent 13 seasons of his professional career in Minor League Baseball (MiLB). He has a minor league career .289 batting average with 1,237 hits, 119 doubles, 32 triples, three home runs, 368 runs batted in, and 237 stolen bases.
Considered among the top high school football players in North Carolina, he was selected to play in the 1997 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. One of his teammates was future NFL defensive end Julius Peppers.
Kansas City Royals (1998-2004)Edit
Hopper signed with the Kansas City Royals in 1998, spending seven seasons with the organization, all in the minor leagues. He finished his stint with the Royals organization in Double-A, playing two seasons for the Wichita Wranglers, where he slashed .290/.346/.327 and recorded 80 stolen bases.
Through 655 minor league games with the Royals organization, he slashed .278/.338/.322 with two home runs, 219 runs batted in, and 137 stolen bases.
Cincinnati Reds (2005-2009)Edit
For the 2005 season, he was assigned to the club's Double-A affiliate, the Chattanooga Lookouts, where he slashed .310/.354/.368 with one home run, 37 runs batted in, and 25 stolen bases. In 2006, he spent the majority of the season with the club's Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats. Through 98 games with the Bats, he slashed .347/.378/.392 and recorded 25 stolen bases.
On August 20, 2006, he made his major league debut with the Cincinnati Reds, recording a single in his first major league at-bat. On September 22, 2006, against Rich Hill and the Chicago Cubs, he recorded his first and only major league home run. He appeared in 21 games that season, slashing .359/.435/.462 with one home run, five runs batted in, and two stolen bases.
During the 2007 season, he appeared in 121 games with the Cincinnati Reds, slashing .329/.371/.388 with 101 hits, 14 runs batted in, and 14 stolen bases.
Chicago White SoxEdit
On August 6, Hopper was traded to the Washington Nationals organization.
He was granted free agency on November 9, 2009.
Hopper signed with the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball for the 2011 season. He played in 79 games for Somerset and carried a .253/.294/.302 batting line to go with 67 hits. He became a free agent after the season.
Petroleros de MinatitlanEdit
Ryan Freel collisionEdit
On May 28, 2007, center fielder Ryan Freel was catching a fly ball, when his head collided with Hopper's right elbow. The collision resulted in Freel being diagnosed with contusions to his head and neck.
Following the collision, Freel told reporters he had sustained several concussions in his life. On December 22, 2012, Freel died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. According to his family, he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
- "Reds Send Jacque Jones, Others, to Minors." SI.com. 30 March 2009.
- Stark, Jayson. "Source: Hopper signs minor league deal." ESPN. 14 January 2009. Retrieved on 14 January 2009.