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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. RotoRob says:

    Well put, Female Friend, even if you had to resort to all caps. FYI, writing in caps kind of loses its effect when you use it that much. At any rate, we’re all glad to hear that Norm is STD-free. How about asking him to pop in here and let us know what he’s been up to? Plenty of his fans would like to know.

  2. Kasey says:

    “FEMALE FRIEND” is funny.

  3. RotoRob says:

    She sure is, Kasey. This whole thread has produced some crazy revelations. I think we all know more about Norm now than any one of us could have ever dreamed of.

  4. shantal says:

    Stop hating people!

  5. Kevin D says:

    He just signed with a new independent team called the Rockland Boulders. https://rocklandboulders.com/pages/news?news_id=29

  6. RotoRob says:

    Awesome! Thanks for the update, Kevin. Here’s hoping Norm has a good season and can build off this opportunity.

  7. Jero says:

    I admire Norm. I love what he says on the rockland boulders website: https://rocklandboulders.com/pages/news?news_id=29

    “I am a real people person, so providing that veteran leadership is something I enjoy,” said Hutchins. “I can offer the guidance, the advice for the younger guys, and it will be something I look forward to. I am here to help when need be, and I have seen a lot throughout my career.”

  8. RotoRob says:

    Thanks, Jero. Any update on how Norm is faring with Rockland? Have you had a chance to see him play?

  9. baseball forever says:

    I’m not positive Norm is STD free? has he posted his test results?LOL
    Lets face it, Norm is an over the hill, below average player, who needs to realize that he’s never going to make it, move on, and realize his true calling as the failed shoe salesman he is destined to be. If that doesn’t work out, there is always prison.
    Ha.
    Just kidding Norm, you are so awesome.Good luck as a boulder.

  10. RotoRob says:

    Oh man, you’re harsh, baseball fever!

  11. RotoRob says:

    BTW, today is the season debut for Rockland, so best of luck, Norm!

  12. [...] to former teammates and coaches to former lovers that claim he gave them an STD. Very early on, Hutchins himself weighed in, but he has not returned since. Like I said, it was pure bedlam, and if you’ve never read the [...]

  13. fever pitch says:

    Norm was just cut from the boulders

  14. RotoRob says:

    Any idea why? He was leading the team in hitting.

  15. baseball forever says:

    Norms BA was .302. But he was leading the team. I know he got caught stealing a few times, but is that enough to get cut? Unless he went, when he had a “no steal” signal.
    Was there some off-field issues we don’t know about?
    failed drug/PED test?

  16. RotoRob says:

    I don’t understand it, either. Can anyone shed some more light on this?

  17. friend says:

    he have no STDS and he got cut off coz he plays outfielder and he was playing first base and they got a real first base man …..

  18. RotoRob says:

    Well, I wondered about that in the update article I wrote a couple of weeks ago. Is he too old to play the OF now? Why didn’t they just shift him to the OF, or if he was too old or slow for that, just make him the DH? Cutting your leading hitter seems a bit weird to me. There must be more to this.

  19. baseball forever says:

    Friend – if that is true, it means Norm is truly washed up, First base requires the least athletic ability on the field. Consider Mo Vaughn, Prince Fielder, Jon Kruk have all been able to stay on the field as over-weight, non athletic first basemen.

    If, as the best hitiing player on the team, Norm could not stay on the roster, it means that he eiiher refused to take extra practice at that position, or worse, he tried, but couldn’t get it. The good news is that selling shoes requires no athletic ability, so its right up his alley.

  20. RotoRob says:

    But this league uses a DH…why wouldn’t Rockland just slot him into that role? There has to be more to this story. Any of you who know Norm well have the scoop for us?

  21. friend says:

    I herd he iz no good in the klubhouse, and has
    2 many personal issues.

  22. RotoRob says:

    Well that would definitely help explains things. Anyone able to confirm this or offer another viewpoint?

  23. friend says:

    U may b waitin a while, cuz no one gives much thought
    2 a washout.

  24. RotoRob says:

    Hey, judging by the size of this comments thread, people obviously DO think about him.

  25. friend says:

    Ok- female friend. Then why did this Saintly and
    Gifted player get released? U no him so well.

  26. Female says:

    Yeah RotoRob, lots of people seem to think about Norm. The way I remember him = he is a very positive, pleasant, outgoing and unbelievable nice person…and very handsome (added bonus).

  27. RotoRob says:

    Thanks for sharing… when were you last in touch with him?

  28. baseball forever says:

    Female Friend and Norm probably took 7th grade math class together(in 12th grade no doubt).
    But the question here is not if has ever been a nice guy.
    The question, pure and simple iz, Why, if Norm was the best hitting player on the team, AND the league used the DH, would Norm get cut?
    Even if he couldn’t play the field, like David Ortiz, he should have gotten the DH spot. Instead he was fired. Why? Only Norm, or someone in the club house can answer that. Not one of his past GF’s.

  29. RotoRob says:

    And the claws are out again. What’s your beef with Norm, Baseball Forever? Did something happen between the two of you?

  30. baseball forever says:

    Nope. Just trying to keep the thread close to the title of this page “what the hell ever happened to…”The question remains, what happened?

  31. RotoRob says:

    Okay, fair enough. Nothing wrong with stirring the pot for the sake of it. Well, as I’ve mentioned a few times in this thread, this is one of the most surprising articles I’ve ever written from the perspective of both the volume of the reaction and the variety of those reactions. It’s really been all over the map and definitely makes me think at the very least Norm has had an effect on a lot of people’s lives. Clearly, the dude has a story to tell…

  32. Close friend says:

    So first of all, if I didn’t like someone I definitely wouldn’t constantly type his name online just to trash him.these people needed counseling to get over him sheesh…in the can am league you’re only allowed 4 veterans so when he made a couple of bad plays at first the manager got a true one.2 of the outfielders are veterans and the closer.if the new first baseman wasn’t a veteran, norm would have stayed..he was told if one of the veteran outfielders get hurt or leave then he would be called to come back first..he volunteered to play first,taking a chance that’s all..you guys should enjoy ur life instead of clearly thinking about someone that you hate all the time..just think you came back to this page again so ur still doing it lol..he played for 16 yrs..can’t be that bad..it ends for everyone..its called getting older duh

  33. RotoRob says:

    Hey Close friend, thanks for the info regarding the Can Am League. How are veterans qualified? By age? Your explanation is the most understandable yet and really helps clear things up, so we definitely appreciate you posting that. It’s true that many of the posters in this thread hate him and I have no idea why, but there have also been lots of comments from his true fans defending Norm, so it’s balanced things. Anyways, if you hear anything more, please keep us informed. Thanks!

  34. Shantal says:

    @ Close friend well said. Norm I wish you the best!

  35. RotoRob says:

    Are you a friend of Norm’s, Shantal? If so, any idea what he’s doing now?

  36. Boulders Fan says:

    All I know is that on the second to last game of the season, in the return game of Howard Johnson of the Mets tied up in the bottom of the 9th he hit a walk off homer about 420 feet.
    Not bad if its the end for him. Gotta give credit to a great career most people couldnt dream of having.

  37. RotoRob says:

    Hey Boulders Fan,

    Are you talking about Norm Hutchins? He never played in the majors…what home run are you referring to?

  38. Boulders Fan says:

    Hey RotoRob,

    Haven’t checked here in awhile. Norm played with the Rockland Boulders this past season. The Boulders actually signed HoJo for the last two games of the season, I guess as a publicity stunt. But HoJo did put the bat on the ball and it was very nostalgic.

    Anyway, Norm smashed the homer in front of a sell out crowd in the bottom of the 9th, the crowd went nuts and he got mobbed at home plate by his teammates. I have been to many Mets and Yankee games, but that home-run ranks up there with any game I’ve been to, except for Robin Ventura’s grand single and maybe a few others.

  39. RotoRob says:

    Hey Boulders Fan,

    I knew he played there this season, but I thought he got cut in June? Did they wind up bringing him back after that? Thanks!

  40. Boulders Fan says:

    They cut him. And resigned him a few weeks later when they realized he was their best hitter I guess. He finished the season with them. I don’t know if he plans on coming back again for another season though.

  41. RotoRob says:

    Oh really? I hadn’t heard they brought him back last season. How did he do in his return?

  42. This just in! Norm Hutchins was offered a lucrative multi year incentive laden deal from the A’s of the Palisades Wiffle Ball League. If you think it’s a joke check out some of their videos on YouTube. For more on the story visit the Palisades WBL’s Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Palisades-WBL/123922670959656

  43. RotoRob says:

    Norm? Are you seriously thinking about taking this deal? Say it ain’t so, Norm, say it ain’t so!

  44. It’s a great deal

  45. RotoRob says:

    Okay, I’ll bite: how much? Not that I’m Norm’s agent, but given the amount of attention he gets here, I’m sure his fans would like to know if this is worth his while.

  46. Boulder Fan says:

    Norm was waived on June 3. Not sure what irrevocable waivers means.
    I wonder what he’ll do next. There’s always that fake Whiffle ball league to consider. Perhaps a kickball league?

  47. RotoRob says:

    Wow, so this could be the end of his career. I looked at his numbers and he was really struggling this year after hitting well for Rockland last year. What happened? Norm is 36 now, so I wonder what’s next. Do you think he’ll catch on with another team? Thanks for the update, Boulders’ fan!

  48. Mr. Update says:

    (Bridgeport, Conn. – June 19, 2012 ) – The Bridgeport Bluefish today announced the signings of outfielder Norm Hutchins.

  49. RotoRob says:

    Thanks, Mr. Update! Glad to see Norm has landed on his feet. Norm, check in with us and let us know how things are going with the Bluefish.

  50. Boulder Fan says:

    Norm was released by Bridgeport July 3rd.

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