Gretzky's son lacing them up -- at first base
Trevor Gretzky among those to attend scouts' showcase at UYA
COMPTON, Calif. -- Some of the best high school talent in California will be on display at the Urban Youth Academy on Saturday, when the fifth annual Southern California Invitational Showcase is held by the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau.Sitting in the seats at the main field will be area scouts, scouting directors and even some general managers, looking for the next Aaron Hicks, Anthony Gose, Kyle Skipworth, Matthew Dominguez, Josh Vitters, Matt Davidson, Jacob Marisnick, David Nick, Jonathan Singleton and Dylan Covey, eventual draftees who have all taken part in the event over the past four years. Also in the stands will be the players' parents, who have been making the showcase rounds since last summer. Two sets of parents likely to be in attendance have athletic pedigrees that have been passed to their sons.
Ryan Garvey, who plays third base and right field for Palm Desert High School, is the son of former All-Star Steve Garvey and his wife, Candace.
Then there will be Trevor Gretzky, who plays first base for Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village. His parents? Wayne and Janet Gretzky.
Yes, that Wayne Gretzky, widely considered to be the greatest hockey player in history.
"The Great One" plans to fit right in with the other parents in attendance.
"Living in this city, I'm one of the parents," he said. "I sit here like everyone else, get excited when our sons do well, we get nervous when they have a tough time, but they're kids, and they are learning and growing and having a great experience."The Gretzkys have five children, all of whom have athletic talents other than hockey, the sport that made Wayne a living legend in his stellar 20-year career with the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers. The patriarch of the family has no problem with that. "Being here in Southern California, I always said, 'Play what you want to play, participate in whatever you want to participate in,'" said Gretzky. "But the reality is that in Southern California, as great a sport as hockey is, this is still a baseball community, football community, golf, tennis, lacrosse.
"I was lucky that all the kids took to sports and they played hockey for fun at a young age, but they really put a lot of time into sports that they had a passion for. So it's great that Trevor's on a really good high school baseball team. It's great to watch the kid play. It's a very well-coached team for a high school team, it's really enjoyable seeing how he has progressed since being a freshman in high school."The younger Gretzky, who hit .341 with two home runs and 33 RBIs as a junior last year, fell in love with baseball at an early age. "I was introduced to it in New York, when my dad was playing for the Rangers," Trevor recalled. "I remember him taking me to a Yankee game, and ever since then I wanted to play and it's been my dream to be in the Major Leagues since then." Trevor not only had to deal with the pressure of having a hockey legend and film actress as parents, but also his talent as a high school quarterback who in 2009 backed up Nick Montana, son of NFL legend Joe Montana, brought even more attention his way. "I've been kind of used to it because in football; everyone had expectations in football," said Trevor. "I just try to forget about the hype and I just think of myself working hard like everybody else, and if it happens, it happens and I'm just going to work hard up until then and do what I have to do." "Trevor Gretzky has some ability to hit," said an area scout who has seen Gretzky play throughout his high school career. "He has a good-looking stroke and has some power potential once he gets a little stronger. His hitting mechanics are sound. He has a projectable frame and he just needs to fill into his body."
A partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, sustained in the third game of the year in September, ended his football season and limited him to being a designated hitter in some of the fall baseball showcases. But by December, his arm had healed and Trevor was cleared to play first base again. In October, Gretzky signed a letter of intent to play college ball for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State. But what happens if he is selected in the First-Year Player Draft in June?"To be drafted is one of my dreams since I saw my dad holding up jerseys when he was traded," said Trevor. "To be in a moment like that would be amazing." "Well, it's one step at a time," said dad. "First of all, he's thrilled to be going to San Diego and playing for Tony Gwynn. You can't have a better teacher, mentor and have four years of a lot of fun and a great education. From that point of view, it's on course and let that take care of itself. On the other side of things, we know that the Draft is in June, and listen, after the Draft takes place and we find out where he's going to go and the situation he's in -- then we'll sit down and talk about it as a family." No matter what the experience has been it's been a great one -- no pun intended -- for the son and especially for the father. "I will always be proud to say I'm Trevor Gretzky's dad, whether he plays at San Diego State or he plays at the high school he's at now," said Wayne. "Being a parent is sort of special, and unless you're a parent, you don't understand how unique it is, the feeling you have for your kids. We're proud of all our kids and we encourage them and support them the best we can." There's one more Gretzky on the horizon. Tristan, 10, is said to be the best athlete in the family and could be a headliner at this showcase in 2017. "He's sick," said his older brother. "He's a switch-hitter, plays everywhere, pitches, and he's a big kid, too."
Ben Platt is a national correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.