Wayne Gretzky is probably the greatest hockey player of all time. But if The Great One had his way, he would have played baseball.
“I would have taken baseball all day long,” Gretzky said on the Dan Patrick show, when asked what sport he would have played if he was good enough. “I would have loved to have been the shortstop for the Detroit Tigers. I grew up such a big Tiger fan with Ernie Harwell and listening to Tiger games on the radio.”
Upon hearing the news, Detroit seemed receptive to the idea.
Gretzky added that he played lacrosse as a youth and also dreamed of being a long-distance runner for Canada at the Olympics.
His father helped keep the focus on hockey. It’s safe to say that things worked out well enough. Gretzky had an unparalleled NHL career. He won four Stanley Cups and recorded (by far) the most points in league history.
It also worked out well for the Tigers. Alan Trammell was a legendary shortstop in Detroit. A roughly the same time that Gretzky was dominating the NHL, Trammell made he made six All-Star Games, four Gold Gloves, and three Silver Sluggers, formed an iconic double play combination with Lou Whitaker, and was an integral part of the Tigers last World Series winner in 1984.
Of course, we don’t know how things would have gone if Gretzky had pursued a career on the diamond. But we can make an assumption that reality worked out much better than the dream for all parties involved.