BY CLAYTON RICHER – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
The name “Gretzky” is synonymous in Canada with Stanley Cups and hockey but don’t mention that to Trevor Gretzky. The son of the world’s greatest hockey player (Wayne Gretzky for you strict ball diamond fans) just completed his first professional season with the Chicago Cubs.
Trevor Gretzky graduated from Oaks Christian High School and had signed a letter of intent to attend San Diego State University under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn however the Chicago Cubs lured Gretzky away from the Aztecs selecting him in the seventh round, 219th overall in the 2012 amateur baseball draft.
“It was a very hard decision. San Diego State is a great university. Tony Gwynn is one of the greatest hitters ever and it would have been huge for me to learn from him, but I feel like I made the right decision in beginning my professional career.”
Gretzky signed with the Cubs for $375,000 and was assigned to the Cubs rookie affiliate in the Arizona League. Gretzky immediately made an impact proving to skeptics that he was a quality talent not just a public relations move to put fans in the seats.
Gretzky batted .304 with 35 hits, 10 runs batted in, four stolen bases and a .703 OPS in 132 plate appearances. Gretzky split time defensively between left field and first base posting a .971 fielding percentage in his first taste of professional baseball.
“I have been playing both mostly outfield now. It doesn’t matter to me; wherever they think I can contribute to the big league club one day I’ll go out there and play my hardest.”
As Gretzky prepares for the upcoming season the Cubs have yet to advise him where he will begin the season.
“I’m just going to go to spring training stronger and ready to go and then will see what happens. As far as the offseason I’m going to focus on getting my arm back to where I want it strength-wise. I’d like to get better in all parts of the game. Right now I’m focusing on spending a lot of time in the weight room trying to get stronger.”
Trevor began his professional career with a young core of talented future big leaguers in the likes of Shawon Dunston Jr, Jorge Soler and Daniel Vogelbach but credits his manager Bobby Mitchell for his constant development.
“There were a lot of coaches that I learned from but when I moved to the outfield I had a lot of work to do and our manager in the Arizona League Bobby Mitchell took a lot of time every day to help me out as well as Lee Tinsley.”
Wayne Gretzky is rumoured to have been quite the baseball talent dating back to his days growing up in Brantford.
“Ya my mom and dad have been really supportive the whole year and are out watching when they can.”
As Trevor continues his development with his sights set on the major leagues one could only imagine what it would look like to have number 99 in a Blue Jays uniform. We all know there will never be another “Great One” but at least we can cheer for the “Next One”.
Clayton Richer is a baseball writer for Baseball Hot Corner, his interviews and blogs can be found daily at www.baseballhotcorner.com as well you can also follow him on twitter MLBHotCorner
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