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Cameron Smith

The Great Son chooses baseball, San Diego State over football

Prep Rally

Wayne Gretzky may be the greatest hockey player in history, but his son, Trevor Gretzky, is aiming to gain respect -- and maybe even fame -- in a very different sport. Last Friday, the Oaks Christian (Calif.) High School senior committed to play baseball at San Diego State, where he'll try to help Aztecs coach and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn reach his first College World Series.

"The campus is beautiful and the program stood out to me," Gretzky told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "All the coaches were great. Both of us have the same goals, to make it to the College World Series."

Gwynn and Aztec fans will be thrilled to hear about the left-handed hitter's commitment, particularly since some of SDSU's prime West Coast competitors like USC and Cal Poly Pomona were also interested in the Los Angeles-area native commitment.

[Photos: See Gretzky's beautiful daughter Paulina golf at a charity event]

Still, Gretzky's decision also highlights his rapid fall from football grace. As recently as this summer, Gretzky was being recruited by a handful of top Division I programs from across the country, and listed interest in schools such as Colorado and Florida State. Then, after two ineffective performances, Gretzky found himself unceremoniously benched in the third quarter of a game against St. Bonaventure (Calif.) High with Oaks Christian trailing 19-0. After Gretzky was relieved by senior backup Richie Harrington, the Lions staged a furious comeback, eventually pulling out a 33-32 win in overtime.

The following week Gretzky was back behind center for Oaks Christian, but he lost his starting job before Oaks Christian's much-ballyhooed cross-neighborhood matchup with Westlake, a 31-12 loss to the Warriors in which Harrington started at quarterback for the Lions.

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There's no word yet whether Gretzky or Harrington will start this week, but the back-and-forth quarterbacking tribulations evidently took their toll on Gretzky's collegiate mindset. The fact that he would pass on his past interest in football programs like Florida State, Alabama and Arkansas to accept San Diego State's offer is a notable shift.

Of course, none of that is to say that Gretzky won't have an incredibly successful collegiate baseball career. The lanky 6-foot-3 first baseman and catcher boasted a slugging percentage of .518 and on-base percentage of .444 as a junior in the competitive Tri-Valley League as a junior. With another year under his belt, the younger Gretzky should arrive in San Diego ready to take on the Mountain West Conference.

[Read more: Wayne Gretzky comments on his future in hockey]

No matter what he does next, Gretzky is likely to stay in the national spotlight. After all, Gretzky's last name alone is enough to make sure that the media tracks his success, no matter which sport he plays.

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