Baseball showcase held in Southern Cal

Updated: February 12, 2011, 7:37 PM ET
Associated Press

COMPTON, Calif. -- Steve Garvey was considered an Ironman during his big league career with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, compiling a record streak of consecutive games played.

These days, he's more than content cheering in the stands as a spectator.

Dressed in slacks, a striped polo shirt and athletic shoes, there was Garvey on Saturday, smiling widely as he snapped photographs of a group of teenage baseball players running through drills.

"I'm just a dad with a kid out here on a gorgeous Southern California day," Garvey said during the fifth annual Southern California Invitational Showcase at the MLB Urban Youth Academy.

He is the proud parent of Ryan Garvey, a senior third baseman from Palm Desert High School who is attempting to blaze his own trail of athletic success.

Trevor Gretzky of Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village can relate. The senior first baseman is the son of Wayne Gretzky, widely considered the greatest hockey player of all-time.

On this day, they were just two of 49 players displaying their skills in front of a swarm of scouts in anticipation of June's amateur draft.

Facing high expectations based on their bloodlines is nothing new for Trevor Gretzky and Ryan Garvey. They have been forced to manage that sort of thing their whole lives.

"I try not to think about it," said the younger Gretzky, whose dad was unable to attend the showcase. "But when I see people try and compare me to him, there's no way that will ever happen.

"If I can be half as good as he was in hockey, I'll be happy. It's pretty much impossible to compare me to 'The Great One."

Trevor Gretzky is working himself back to health after sustaining a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder while playing quarterback in September, an injury that ended his football season and limited him during fall baseball showcases.

As a junior last year, Gretzky hit .341 with two home runs and 33 RBIs, albeit with a target on his back because of his last name.

"Especially in high school, I get a lot of trash talking," he said. "But you deal with it. It gets me going, it gets me focused."

Prior to his Hall of Fame hockey career, Wayne Gretzky played baseball in his younger days. While Trevor attempts to carve out a name for himself in a different sport, that's not the case with Ryan Garvey.

He has some big shoes to fill in following in the footsteps of his father, who was a 10-time All-Star and played a National League-record 1,207 consecutive games.

"Especially if you've got a Garvey name or a Gretzky name, as soon they announce it, all the focus is on it," Steve Garvey said. "But I think Ryan does a pretty good job of handling it."

Ryan Garvey, who hit .404 with 46 RBIs and 35 runs as a junior, said he overcame the pressures that come with bearing his last name long ago. He now relishes being able to share the love of baseball with his dad, including honoring him by wearing his old man's No. 6.

"I want to try to outdo him," Ryan Garvey joked. "That's why I stuck with No. 6, to show him who's boss."

Trevor Gretzky and Ryan Garvey have the same dream of making it to the big leagues one day. In the meantime, Trevor is slated to play ball next year for San Diego State under Tony Gwynn, while Ryan has committed to Southern California.

Those plans could change depending on how June's draft plays out. But no matter where baseball takes them next, their fathers will happily be there to root them on.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press