August 12, 2011
When Trevor Gretzky was taken by the Chicago Cubs in the seventh round (219th overall) of the 2011 Major League Baseball Entry Draft, his father felt it was fulfilling some kind of cosmic sports destiny.
After all, NHL legend Wayne Gretzky's father was a huge fan of Chicago Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita, and Gretzky made his NHL debut in Chicago against Mikita and the Hawks.
But if there's one thing we know about The Great One, it's that sentimentality isn't necessarily going to trump economics. Trevor Gretzky was going to get paid if he chose the Cubs over playing baseball at San Diego State University. And who better to ensure that happened than his contract negotiator … Wayne Gretzky.
By signing for a $375,000 bonus, Gretzky turned down a chance to play for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State University. General manager Jim Hendry negotiated directly with Wayne, "The Great One," the legendary hockey player who won four Stanley Cups.
"[Cubs owners] The Ricketts have talked about doing what it takes to bring that caliber of player into the organization," assistant general manager Randy Bush said. "(Trevor) fits that mold with a lot of upside."
Gretzky has taken a prominent role in his son's burgeoning pro career. In fact, San Diego State Coach Tony Gwynn said he let news of Trevor's slip during an early conversation between the Hall of Fame athletes. "Wayne mentioned how he started his pro career as a 17-year-old, how if you work hard enough you can make it," Gwynn told the Toronto Sun.
The $375,000 is a hefty sum considering what players taken well ahead of him received, but he's got a 6-foot-4 frame and lots of potential — not to mention some sports DNA that a team that hasn't won a title since 1908 will gladly invite to the gene pool.