On Monday the 6-foot-4, 190-pound first baseman signed with the Chicago Cubs — the team that drafted him in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB draft in June — spurning his second love: football. (Naturally, the first source to report the signing was the Toronto Sun.)
Should Gretzky metriculate to the majors, he could join a growing list of notable professional athletes whose offspring chose a different athletic avenue.
Here are a few of those father-son and father-daughter duos...
— Ken Norton Sr. (boxing) & Ken Norton Jr. (NFL)
— Yannick (tennis) & Joakim Noah (NBA)
— Calvin (NFL) & Grant Hill (NBA)
— Darryl (MLB) & DJ Strawberry (NBA)
— Joe (aka “Animal” in the old WWF) & James Laurinaitis (NFL)
— Mark (NFL) & Daniel Schlereth (MLB)
— Bubba (NFL) & Courtney and Ashley Paris (WNBA)
By signing with the Cubs out of high school, Gretzky turned down the opportunity to play under MLB Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn at San Diego State. Growing up in Southern California, hockey often to a backseat to baseball and football where Gretzky was also a highly-touted dual-threat quarterback.
Gwynn told the Sun missing out on a “good young hitter” like Gretzky was a “big deal”:
“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.”