Jul 21, 2011, 8:00 PM EDT
The Great One has a son who may be trying to be The Next One—but it won’t be in hockey. Trevor Gretzky took the next step in his baseball career as he signed a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs. In June he was drafted in the 7th round (219th overall) by the Cubs, but was still verbally committed to attend San Diego State in the fall. Per NCAA guidelines, Gretzky had until August 15th to decide if he wanted to sign a professional contract with the team that drafted him or if he wanted to go the college route.
By signing with the Cubs, he loses his amateur status and will enter the Cubs minor league system this summer. Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn shared something Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky said to him about sports and added that he should have seen this decision coming:
“Wayne mentioned how he started his pro career as a 17-year-old, how if you work hard enough you can make it. The father is a nice guy. He totally gets it, understands the pro game. And the son is very mature.”
In high school at Oaks Christian in Thousand Oaks, CA, the younger Gretzky was a multi-sport athlete playing both baseball and quarterback with the football team. Much was made of the superstar bloodlines on the football team—but Nate Montana (yes, that Montana) and Trey Smith (son of Will Smith) also played on the football team at Oaks Christian. Eventually, Trevor himself had to choose between two sports—but hockey was never in the mix:
“I remember growing up in New York when my Dad was with the Rangers. I remember him taking me to a Yankees game and ever since then I’ve wanted to play. It’s been my dream to be in the Major Leagues ever since then. I just started football five years ago and kind of picked it up, but baseball has been my love ever since I’ve been little. I think that’s why I gravitate towards it.”
Now he’ll get to ride the buses and deal with the tough life that is a minor league baseball player. On the plus side, he won’t have nearly as much pressure on the diamond as he would have if he chose to pursue hockey in his youth. Growing up in a legend’s shadow can be tough enough—but when your father’s name is The Great One, the bar is set impossibly high.
Instead of trying to compete with his father’s lore, he’ll try to hit a curveball. We wish him the best of luck—the hockey world will still be watching.
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