When Wayne Gretzky was a Blue Jay
Every Wednesday we'll be highlighting some of the ugliest, funniest, and error-ridden sports cards of both past and present. Today we have a look at Wayne Gretzky as a Toronto Blue Jay.
Wayne Gretzky never actually suited up for the Toronto Blue Jays, but rumours of his baseball prowess circulated for years. The card pictured above is in the style of Topps' 1981 baseball, but doesn't show up on any checklists for the set.
Here's more on the legend of Gretzky's baseball skills, via Nitzy's Hockey Den:
In a story from the Canadian Press on July 8, 1980, a Brantford baseball official named Bill Moffat tells of one of the first times that Gretzky filled in at shortstop for the Senior level Brantford Red Sox. "We go to Waterloo for a tournament and it comes to the final game. We need a pitcher to face Leaside Leafs and Wayne volunteers. Well, you should have seen him. He's throwing his slow curve and keeping it low, and they're just going crazy trying to hit it. The more they go after it, the bigger the grin on his face gets. We wind up beating them, 15-5." Not only was Gretzky a fine hitter, but he had a heck of an off-speed pitch too. Whether or not any of these skills were of major league calibre, we'll never know.
Wayne's son Trevor was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in this past June's amateur draft. If there's any weight to the tales of the Great One's baseball competency, then perhaps Trevor may carve his own path on the diamond.