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What the Hell Ever Happened to…Norm Hutchins?

March 26, 2007 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Former Los Angeles Angels prospect Norm Hutchins flamed out because he didn't know the strike zone.
If you have an autographed Norm Hutchins card lying around, I have some bad news: you’re headed back to work tomorrow morning.

How many of you out there remember Norm Hutchins, the switch-hitting outfielder that the Angels grabbed in the second round (40th overall) back in 1994?

Hutchins spent four years on the Angels’ top prospect list (as per Baseball America), enjoying his finest season in 1998 when in just 89 Double-A games, he scored 74 runs, smacked 20 doubles, 10 triples and 10 homers, while swiping 32 bases with a .312 BA. Power, speed, average…and he did it as a 22-year-old.

So what the hell was the problem?

Pretty simple, really. Despite all his raw talent and blazing speed, Hutchins suffered from a complete lack of understanding of the strike zone, a problem that afflicts many young hitters. His BB/K ratio from that season was an ugly 14/84.

Disturbingly enough, however, that line looked good compared to his previous season when Hutchins walked 23 times against 147 strikeouts.

It was a trend that continued and the Angels finally tired of it, sending Hutchins to Colorado in a 2000 trade. After the season, Hutchins was let go and he signed with the Rays as a free agent. He spent one season in the Tampa Bay organization before having to look for work again.

Hutchins’ last stand was an an Expo. Signed as a minor league free agent in January 2002, he was cut from the team near the end of spring training, and that was all she wrote for Hutchins in organized ball.

He spent all or parts of four seasons at Triple-A, but never got the call to the Show, somewhat surprising given his speed. You’d think he could have been a useful pinch runner one September.

At any rate, after getting axxed by the Expos, Hutchins switched to Indy ball, joining Elmira of the Northeast League. He spent the next four years bouncing around the Atlantic League, enjoying some strong years, including an All-Star season in 2005, but he never got another sniff from a big league team.

Now 31, Hutchins spent last season with Bridgeport, and I honestly don’t know if he’ll be back for another kick at the can this year. After batting just .230, slugging only .371 and managing a mere nine steals in 2006, it might be the end of the line for player who was once pegged as a future Angel in the outfield.

Of, and that whole strike-zone judgment thing? Hutchins never did get over it, drawing only 21 walks against 67 Ks last season.

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168 Responses to “What the Hell Ever Happened to…Norm Hutchins?”

  1. Peter says:

    Norm was released by the Edmonton Capitals on July 16th and was then signed by the Chico Outlaws.

  2. RotoRob says:

    Thanks for the update, Peter. Let us know how he’s faring in Chico.

  3. Paul Llanos says:

    The autograph pic with the horrible comment underneath was really cruel and irresponsible.

    I played with Norman in little league, we played stick ball together at Pelton Park (in Yonkers), and we even played ball together at Lincoln High School. We all (the kids from the neighborhood), new he would make it. Now, many can argue with the term of “making it” but the fact that he was able to even play this long when so many of us including myself have to report to a 9 to 5 and not do what we really love to do is absolutely amazing!

    Norm may have never made it to the bigs but he has certainly made us all proud here in Yonkers N.Y. Especially his old friends from Lawrence St.

    GOD BLESS you Norm!
    Paul

  4. RotoRob says:

    Okay, Paul, just relax. There was no cruelty intended, we’re just having a little fun. No one can deny — regardless of how many supporters Norm has (and clearly, he has plenty) and what a great guy he is — that his career has been a disappointment considering what we all expected.

    Having said that, the outpouring of support he’s received here has turned me into a fan of his, despite the fact that he never made The Show.

    So, while you need to learn to laugh, Paul, I do appreciate you jumping in and sharing your memories of Norm.

    Cheers

  5. Jason says:

    Norm Hutchins – is probably the all around best athlete (bball / baseball / football) to ever come out of Westchester! …

  6. RotoRob says:

    Hey Jason….thanks for your thoughts. I don’t know about basketball or football, but Deacon Jones, who played parts of three seasons for the White Sox in the ’60s, was also from the area, for what it’s worth. Anyone know any b-ball or football athletes from the area?

  7. Wes P says:

    I coached Norm in High School. He had a 42 ‘ vertical ,ran a for 4.3 40 and threw 90 mph with a knuckle curve and change up and had power from both sides of the plate.He could have made as a pitcher but with the power and speed it was over looked .He had 80 D1 offers for football and could dunk a basketball from the foul line .I played 8 years in the minors from 1982 to 1990 with the Indians and Twins including attending some Big league camps and never saw an athlete like Norm .If he had patience at the plate he would have had a 15 year Big League career.

  8. RotoRob says:

    Hi Wes,

    Thanks so much for sharing your impressions of Norm. I wonder why no organization ever tried to convert him into a pitcher? It sounds like it might have been his ticket to the majors.

  9. jim joyce says:

    i was norms basketball coach at lincoln. he was the only player i ever saw who was asked for autographs by visiting fans and players. before he was drafted 40th overall (1st round samwitch pic), scouts and gms only wanted to see him in centerfield. they did say that if he didnt make it as a position player they would put him back on the mound. although norm was a spectacular basketball player, he could have made it in pro football as a wide out or as a kicker.

  10. jim joyce says:

    norm was the best hs athlete i have ever seen.

  11. RotoRob says:

    Thanks for your input, Jim. It’s clear from everyone’s comments, that Norm was a tremendously gifted high school athlete. Obviously, no one ever followed up and decided to try to convert him to a professional pitcher. That’s a shame.

  12. xoxo says:

    Norm. Congratulations on becoming a father!

  13. RotoRob says:

    Really? Thanks for the update. Congrats, Norm! Check in when you get a chance and let us know what you’re up to.

  14. Shantal says:

    Yeah Congratulations

  15. baseball man says:

    Some bad news…

    American Association

    SIOUX CITY EXPLORERS—Released OF Norm Hutchins.

    played against Norm in high school. It was about 40 degrees and he’s pitching 90 as a junior. I kept telling the catcher to have him throw me a fastball and the catcher kept giving Norm the “1″ sign. And I kept swingin and missin

    He was an awesome WR, too. His QB was Nealon Greene … played QB at Syracuse.

  16. RotoRob says:

    That’s too bad that Norm got released. Any idea if he plans to play on in 2010?

    Thanks for sharing that anecdote about high school. I heard he was an awesome athlete in those days.

    Cheers

  17. Baseballjunior says:

    I hope that this guy is doing something else besides baseball; he has kids running around, aren’t they expensive?

  18. RotoRob says:

    Yes, they are. Perhaps he has a winter job or — better yet — a sugar mama. Who couldn’t use a sugar mama?

  19. Norma says:

    If this was true about having a sugar mama then he would be living as a male prostitute? That would be a sad story about Norm. Very Sad!

  20. RotoRob says:

    Not necessarily. Does having a sugar daddy make a woman a prostitute?

  21. Shantal says:

    u guys r crazy! lol

  22. RotoRob says:

    You got that right, Shantal. This whole thread is crazy! I wish Norm would pop back in to give us his two cents on all this.

  23. Fan says:

    Norm is the sweetest guy in the world.

  24. RotoRob says:

    Are you still in touch with him, Fan?

  25. Jay says:

    Norm is a great guy.I know him and his wife.Beautiful couple and they just had adorable baby girl.

  26. RotoRob says:

    Hi Jay,

    Thanks so much for writing in. Please ask Norm to pop in and say hello…we’ve been getting some AWESOME feedback for him lately and we’d love to hear what he’s up to.

    Happy New Year’s!

  27. t says:

    Hey rotorob why the interest in norm don’t you have better ing to do. You seem like some crazyed fan. Why so much interest in him

  28. RotoRob says:

    Ha ha….hey, T, I wrote ONE article about him. The rest of the interest has all been generated by readers like you. What can I say? Norm is a popular guy, even after all these years. You just proved that.

  29. Bine says:

    So what is Norm doing these days? If he is really married with children, then he is probably not playing baseball anymore? Hey Norm, God Bless you and your family♥

  30. RotoRob says:

    Hey Bline,

    Not necessarily…lots of players who are married with kids keep playing. Last I heard, he was released, but I don’t know if he caught on elsewhere or even tried to keep playing. I’ve been hoping Norm would pop in and give us an update soon. Norm, you listening? Your fans would like to know what you’re up to.

  31. serena says:

    Best way to get in touch with Norm Hutchins these days is through craigslist.org-casual encounters.LOL.

  32. RotoRob says:

    Oh, come on Serena! Jeez, we’ve been getting some great feedback on Norm lately until this one.

  33. Boss Lady says:

    LMAO

  34. RotoRob says:

    Come on, Norm…jump in here and help me out, man.

  35. L.S. says:

    Hey, Norm is a very nice, wonderful man and a great athlete!!! Lots of Love and Blessings….

  36. RotoRob says:

    Do you know him, LS? We haven’t heard from Norm in a while. I’m curious what he’s up to these days.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Booze, Hot Dogs, and Whores… Who needs STEROIDS?

    (Baseball legend Babe Ruth)

  38. fan says:

    Obviously the anonymous person has no life LOL.10pm on Valentine’s day and ur on here..either a jealous guy who wants to be him or some girl that can’t have him ha ha.how pathetic. :(

  39. RotoRob says:

    Hey fan,

    I hadn’t even noticed the time of that post. Good point, man! Well, we’re certainly getting all types of out of the woodwork for this Norm thread, that’s for damn sure.

  40. A. fom Yonkers, NY says:

    I am sure that Norm is above some of the nonsense written in this tread. He is cool. I don’t know why he attracts such weird people on this website? AlI I can say, Norm is a great guy and obviously still famous for being an excellent athlete and spending “four years on the Angels’ top prospect list.” Proud of you, man. ACE

  41. RotoRob says:

    Hey Ace,

    Yes, I agree…I’m sure he has better things to do with his time than read some of the crazy comments we’ve seen here. I really have no idea why this article has brought so many bizarre posters out of the woodwork. Anyways, thanks for your two cents on the matter.

  42. I remember Norman from Yonkers(1996-1998) going at it in basketball at Pelton park.I ain’t no hater Norm,my dude,I want to see you shine bro!

  43. RotoRob says:

    I hear he was a pretty damn good basketball player too, D. Is that right?

  44. Dominican1 says:

    I spent last summer playing softball against this clown in Yonkers. He was a good ballplayer, but what a cocky f’in jerk no wonder he didnt make it to the bigs.

  45. RotoRob says:

    Wow, it’s been a while since we had a Norm update. Are you serious? He’s playing SOFTBALL now? Why do you say he was cocky? Tell us what he did. Norm, are you still out there? Feel free to weigh in here.

  46. Lori says:

    Ah Norm…. I dated him in 96, and went to visit him in New York a couple years later. Such a sweet guy. Sad to hear his career is over. If anyone knows how to contact him tell him I am back in CR and would love to hear from him. He found me once before.

  47. RotoRob says:

    Hi Lori,

    You’re not the first of his exes to surface here, but you certainly speak much higher of him than some of the others, I’m pleased to report!

  48. Jess says:

    Hi Lori,
    If you find Norm and see him – make sure you don’t get any STDs from him.I have no idea how his wife can take this asshole. Just an advise .

  49. RotoRob says:

    This is what I was talking about, Lori. So Jess, did you really catch something from Norm? Do tell…

  50. female friend says:

    WOW THE THINGS PEOPLE WOULD SAY TO BRING SOMEONE DOWN THAT THEY PROBABLY WONT EVEN SEE IN THEIR LIVES AGAIN.WELL IM A FRIEND OF HIS AND BEFORE WE STARTED YOU KNOW,WE BOTH TOOK A TEST IN DECEMBER AND HE HAS NO STDS .YOU GUYS ARE GOING WAY BELOW THE BELT NOW AND CARMA IS A BITCH.IF THEY DON’T LIKE HIM THAT MUCH WHY ARE THEY GOOGLING HIS NAME.IF HE DIDNT WANT YOU OR HAD YOU AND DIDNT AFTER ITS NOT HIS FAULT SO TRY TO MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIKE INSTEAD OF THINKING ABOUT NORM HUTCHINS LOL

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