Make way for Gretzky Jr.

NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky stands in the dugout with children (left to right) Tristan, Trevor...

NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky stands in the dugout with children (left to right) Tristan, Trevor and Paulina prior to a game between the Twins and the Angels last season. Trevor was claimed by the Cubs in the seventh round of the Major League draft Tuesday. (KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/Getty Images)

BRIAN SMILEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:29 PM ET

How proud was the world's greatest hockey player when his son was drafted on Tuesday in the seventh round of Major League Baseball's 2011 draft by the Chicago Cubs?

“It's probably as much fun as winning the Stanley Cup the first time,” Wayne Gretzky said from California, where his wife, Janet, and kids – Paulina, Ty, Tristan and Emma – celebrated Trevor's selection by the Cubs, which came with the 219th overall pick in the amateur draft.

“I'm so proud of him. He's a good kid and a warrior. He's worked so hard and has such a passion.

“It's a great day. There's lots of Chicago Cubs hats in the family right now. Being drafted by the Cubs is like being drafted by an Original Six (NHL) team.

“I told him I don't know who is more excited right now, me or you.”

Trevor, an 18-year-old who is just finishing up his senior year at Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, Calif., felt much like his dad.

“It's awesome,” he said. “It's a great experience. All day my phone has been blowing up.

“My family has been amazing. You should have seen my parents, how nervous they were. I've never seen them that nervous.”

As a high school student, Trevor was a two-sport star in baseball and football but as a youngster he remembers playing hockey and baseball in New York as his dad wound up his NHL career with the Rangers.

Once the family moved out west to California, his focus changed.

“When we moved to California, all my friends played football and baseball so I started doing that,” the six-foot-four, 190-pound first baseman said.

“There weren't a lot of hockey rinks in California.”

Trevor garnered attention in both football and baseball but this past fall, an injury put the kibosh on any ideas of a future on the gridiron.

“He elected to play the season basically with one arm,” said Wayne, when relating what Trevor went through this baseball season after suffering a partially torn labrum during football season.

“I always tell him the worst thing you can do is tell someone you're injured; it's the old hockey mentality. He played his heart out.

“His grandpa (Walter) always said, 'Some players play well when under pressure and some don't.' He plays well under pressure.”

Walter is excited for his grandson, who will have to have surgery on the shoulder.

“First of all you have no idea how proud I am,” said hockey's most famous father. “I didn't know he was that good.”

But Walter said he has one thing that all successful people have – drive.

“That's why he's accomplished what he has.”

The ‘ take on Trevor, a left-handed batter who throws with his right hand, is that he needs to add some strength but he has a smooth swing. Obviously, he's very athletic.

Because of that shoulder injury, Trevor played mostly designated hitter this season at Oaks Christian but he still set a school record by knocking in nine runs in one April game.

Trevor said he and his family hope to talk to the Cubs soon.

“It's just the first day,” he said. “I'll probably talk to the Cubs (soon) and see what's next.”

The Cubs will have until Aug. 15 to sign Trevor however, there is another option for the budding baseball player as he has already committed to attend San Diego State, which is coached by baseball hall of famer Tony Gwynn.

“That would be awesome,” Trevor said when asked what it would be like if he chose to play at the college level.

“They first offered me (a scholarship) back in the fall and I was so excited. It's a great program.”

Wayne backs both options but he chose to turn professional at a young age and that worked out well.

“He still has a chance to play at San Diego State,” said Wayne when going through his son's options. “I told him I turned professional at 17 and there's nothing wrong with that.”

If Trevor chooses to attend San Diego State, he may need a place to play in the summer and Wayne has made one suggestion.

“I already said to him in the summer he can come up and play for the (Brantford) Red Sox,” said Wayne, who was a strong baseball player himself and whose family were once part owners of the Intercounty Baseball League team.

“My dad always wanted to be a hockey player and as much as I love hockey, my passion was baseball. Watching (Trevor) play baseball, I couldn't get enough.”

“I never saw my dad play but he tells me all the time he was a pretty good shortstop,” said Trevor.

“My dad talks about the Brantford Red Sox and if I do play college, maybe I could come up and play there.”

Walter remembers Wayne's days as a ballplayer.

“He was awesome,” he said. “He was a natural. He could play anywhere – second base, shortstop, pitcher.

“He was a good hitter, too.”

But right now priority No. 1 for Trevor is touching base with the Cubs to see where that goes.

“This is just the door opening,” said Trevor, whose signature on a Cubs contract would most likely see him join the organization's rookie-Class Arizona League to start. “I just have to keep on working. I want to be a major league ballplayer.”

bsmiley@theexpositor.com

twitter.com/expbsmiley


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