Rice University Owls baseball player Norm Charlton, Jr.
Black and white photograph of Rice University Owls baseball player Norm Charlton Jr., class of 1986, accompanied by text headlining his achievement and entry into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame. Caption reads: After attending a Giants-Astros game at the Astrodome and witnessing, Giants starter Juan Marichal’s high kicking style, nine year-old Norm Charlton told his parents that he would some day pitch in the Astrodome. Although he meant he wanted to be wearing an Astros uniform at the time, Charlton has realized his dream by being one of the best pitchers in major league baseball. A San Antonio native, Charlton graduated from Madison High School in 1981, and subsequently enrolled at Rice after meeting current diamond chief, David Hall. Charlton was initially set to enroll at Texas A&M, and not follow the footsteps of his father, Norman Charlton, Sr. (a walk-on track and field athlete for the Owls from 1957 to 1961 and a member of the Rice physical education department from 1964 to 1973). But after meeting with Hall, Charlton, Jr. decided to cast his lot with the Owls, and the rest is history. Charlton’s career statistics at Rice (from 1982-84) were record shattering. He had a Rice-record 2.25 career ERA and held the season record for wins (11) until it was broken this past season. During his stand-out Rice years, Charlton played on the U.S. national baseball team at the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1982 and was also selected on the 1984 USA Olympic team (but did not participate due to injury). Thanks in large part to his 2.24 ERA as a junior, the Owls led the nation in team ERA in 1984. Charlton was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the first round of the spring 1984 draft (28th pick overall) after his junior year. A clause in his contract stated that the Expos guaranteed him the right to return to school for the fall semester of 1985. After increasing his academic load the year before in order to be able to graduate in three-and-a-half years, Norm received his degree in 1986 in political science. He had enough credit hours to select a degree in either political science, religion, or physical education. The 27-year old Charlton was traded to Cincinnati for Wayne Krenchicki, a third baseman in 1986. He spent that summer pitching Burlington, VT. Burlington won the Eastern League Championship with Charlton being named playoff MVP. He spent the next season with the Reds’ triple A team in Nashville. Since 1988, Norm has been a major leaguer. Charlton had good seasons his first two years in the majors (4-5, 3.96 ERA his rookie year in 1988 and 8-3, 2.93 ERA in the bullpen in 1989), but those two years pale in comparison to what he accomplished this past season for the Reds. One of the so-called “Nasty Boys” in the bullpen (he’s known as the “genius”), Charlton moved back to the starting rotation for the Reds in May. And for the year, Charlton was one of the team’s top pitchers with a 12-9 record and a sparkling ERA well under 3.00. Charlton’s magnificent year ensures the Katy resident of being the first Rice Owl in the David Hall era to play in major league post-season action. With a long and promising major league career in front of him, tonight’s honor may be one of the most prestigious awards that should come Norm Charlton’s way. Who knows, it may not be too long that Charlton is pitching in the Astrodome or some other major league park when some young impressionable nine-year-old kid turns to his family and says that he wants to be a major leaguer like his idol, Norm Charlton. When that happens, the kid couldn’t have picked a better role model.
Rice Athletic Hall of Fame
Citable link to this pagehttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/63930
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