2009-04-09 / Sports
Gretzky brothers choose different paths
One plays golf, the other is a baseball and football star
This is especially true when your dad is nicknamed "The Great One" and did more for the National Hockey League than any player in the history of the sport.
Knowing this, Ty Gretzky and his younger brother, Trevor, decided to pave their own paths in the world of sports.
The sons of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky are now two of Oaks Christian's premier athletes.
Ty is one of the Lions' top golfers, and the senior entered the week tied for fifth place in the TriValley League with an average score of 78.
While Ty swings a mighty golf club, Trevor has been a force with the bat on the school's baseball team. The sophomore first baseman entered the week hitting .516 with nine RBI and five doubles.
The brothers both say they love hockey, but they're glad to be succeeding in different sports.
Ty recently moved back to Southern California after feeling added pressure as a center on the Shattuck-St. Mary's school hockey squad in Faribault, Minn.
"We didn't have last names on the back of our jerseys, but somehow people in the stands would just find out who I was and yell, 'You'll never be as good as your dad in hockey,'" Ty said. "I knew that. Nobody can be as good as him. He's the best ever.
"I was moving back here, but I didn't want to sit around and do nothing. I wanted to play a sport, so I decided to give golf a try."
Although Oaks Christian head coach Tom Placke wasn't sold on Ty's golfing ability at first, he's been thrilled with his progress the last year and a half.
"When I first heard (Ty) might be coming to Oaks Christian, I looked on the Internet and saw he was shooting in the low 90s and high 80s," Placke said.
"You could see early on, however, that he was very dedicated to the sport. He's a very long hitter, and he can drive the ball anywhere from 280 to 300 yards. If he can start to get better at course management, he'll be a tremendous player in college."
Arizona State seems to agree with Placke. Ty recently decided to attend the university in the fall, where he'll redshirt his first season. The right-hander said he wouldn't have had the opportunity without the help of personal instructor George Gankas.
"I had a difficult time at first perfecting my swing, and I wouldn't be anywhere without the help of George Gankas," Ty said. "He's a cool guy to be around, and he's always helping me out."
While Ty plays golf yearround, Trevor splits his time between the baseball diamond and football field, where he plays quarterback.
Trevor said he enjoys both sports, but baseball is his true calling.
"It's always been a way to connect with my dad, who also loves the game," Trevor said.
"I grew up in New York going to Yankee games and just liked the sport right away. My brother and I used to play together all the time."
Although he's only in his first year on the varsity club, the sweetswinging lefty is already a prominent fixture in a potent Oaks Christian lineup. The 16-year-old said he's seeing the ball better than ever thanks to some advice from his head coach, Tim Penprase.
"For the first time ever, I'm wearing glasses while playing," Trevor said with a laugh.
"Coach Penprase suggested that I wear them, and at first I didn't want to, but when I was moved up to the varsity level I knew I had to start."
Penprase has been pleased with the results.
"He's a very dangerous hitter," the coach said. "Any time he steps up to the plate he has the potential to hit a home run or a double.
"He recognizes pitches very well for a sophomore, and as he gets older he's only going to get stronger and become a better hitter. He has a bright future in front of him."
Trevor said his favorite team is the Los Angeles Dodgers. Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins is the player he models his game after.
Although the brothers play different sports, their goals remain the same—to compete in the postseason.
"I know I'm going to make the CIF playoffs, I just need to go out and do it," Ty said. "I have a good chance to go far if I can improve on my short game."
While the OCHS golf team takes time off for spring break, the Lions' baseball team plays at Montclair Prep this afternoon.