Gretzky's son drafted -- by the Cubs!
Trevor Gretzky has been asked the same questions thousands of times, since he first stood up and started swinging a stick. How is the oldest son of hockey's greatest star going to live up to his father's legacy? And why is he swinging a baseball bat?
On Tuesday, he took a big step toward providing a resounding answer to both. Gretzky, son of the hockey legend, Wayne, was selected in the seventh round (219th overall) of Major League Baseball's player draft by the Chicago Cubs.
"It was awesome," Gretzky said from his home in Los Angeles. "Just hearing my name and waiting there for when I got picked was a great experience."
Gretzky headlined a long list of notable names selected in this year's draft, extending from the son of a big-league manager to the nephew of a Hollywood movie star. There was Bryan Harper, whose brother, Bryce, was last year's No. 1 pick. There was Trent and Shane Boras, the sons of the superagent, Scott. There was Kyle Gaedele, whose great uncle, the 3 foot, 7 inch Eddie, made baseball lore as the shortest man to ever play the game.
But none garner the same reactions as Gretzky, whose surname will forever be linked with athletic greatness. For 18-year-old Trevor, it all comes with the territory.
"I think no matter what he does he'll always be attached to that Gretzky last name." said Dustin Kelly, a close family friend. "But with time I think it'll be Trevor Gretzky and not Gretzky's son or son of the Great One. He's got a great future."
To answer that lingering question, well, yes, Gretzky did grow up playing hockey. While living in New York with his father who was a member of the Rangers, Gretzky practiced often on the rinks at Chelsea Piers in downtown Manhattan. But his father also took him to Yankees games as a kid and he played in baseball leagues through his youth.
"I was introduced to baseball in New York," Gretzky said. "I loved it."
After his father's retirement, the family moved to Los Angeles and hockey slowly fell from Trevor's favor.
"All my friends were playing baseball and football and there's no real hockey out there," Gretzky said. "I just naturally gravitated toward baseball and football."
At Oaks Christian, a private high school in western Los Angeles, he played quarterback for a football team that included the sons of NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana and actor Will Smith. After a shoulder injury this fall interrupted his season, Gretzky decided to turn his full attention toward baseball.
"I started playing football in high school and I thought I'd play both in college," Gretzky said. "But then I got hurt this past year and decided football's kind of tough and I didn't want to get hurt for baseball. I just decided to work out for baseball the rest of the year."
Kelly, who played three seasons of professional baseball in the Red Sox organization, has been mentoring Gretzky on the diamond since last summer. He said Gretzky was raw at first but it didn't take long to notice his athleticism.
"His hand-eye coordination is as good as any high school kid out there," Kelly said. "He really has an ability to put the bat on the ball."
The 6-4 first baseman batted .393 with one home run and 27 RBI sin 31 games this season. He committed to San Diego State in October but said he has not made a decision yet on whether he will attend.
On Tuesday afternoon, though, the Gretzkys crowded into their kitchen to watch the draft unfold online. Trevor got the phone call from Chicago and leaped to his feet, accepting a congratulatory handshake from the person directly next to him -- Dad.
"He was pretty happy," Gretzky said. "My whole family was. They were all nervous for the past couple days. I was just excited."