Wayne Gretzky is inarguably the greatest hockey player of all time, and is arguably – based on his stats – the most dominant athlete of all time. But if Gretzky had gotten his way, he never would have played a second in the NHL. As it turns out, he preferred baseball as a kid.
Gretzky joined “The Dan Patrick Show” on Thursday and explained the passion he had for the sport growing up.
“My favorite sport, believe it or not, was baseball,” Gretzky said. “I wanted to be a Major League Baseball player. I used to listen to Jack Buck on the radio because we got their station in my hometown and the great thing about the Cardinals was they were an hour behind so they came on at 8:30. So I usually went to bed around 7:30, 8:00 and I could listen to the Cardinal game on the radio and fall asleep. I wanted to be a baseball player.”
Just to make sure there was no confusion, Patrick clarified. So “The Great One” was saying that he would have rather played in the major leagues than the NHL?
“I would have taken baseball all day long. I would have loved to have been the shortstop for the Detroit Tigers. I grew up such a big Tiger fan,” he said.
So what ultimately led Gretzky to hockey? Well for starters, he realized around age 14 or 15 that he would never make it to the majors. Then there a little, well, familial push.
“So I had all these aspirations and my dad kept kinda clipping me over the head saying. ‘You’re a hockey player you know.’”
In hindsight, it certainly appears Gretzky made the right decision.