DETROIT – Landon Ferraro grew-up around professional hockey players. His father, Ray, scored more than 400 goals during a 19-season NHL career, so it comes with little surprise that the son should also pursue the same path.
But Ferraro picked up the love of another sport from his famous father, as well. The Wings’ second-round pick from 2009 said he grew-up listening to his dad’s glory days – on the baseball diamond.
“My dad, he went to the Little League World Series, and hearing his stories a billion times just kind of put that in my mind,” Ferraro said. “I love playing baseball. Me and my brother and my dad and some buddies still go throw the ball around, or go to a local field and play a home run derby or something. It’s just a great sport.”
Ferraro said that in his hometown of Trail, British Columbia, there are two sports that everyone plays; hockey in the winter, and baseball in the spring and summer.
“I grew-up playing hockey, baseball, and soccer, but I gave soccer up pretty early,” Ferraro said. “But baseball in the Trail, everybody grew-up loving baseball.”
Ferraro played mostly third base and shortstop on his youth baseball teams before stopping to spend more time on hockey.
“I stopped playing (baseball) when I was 12, right when I moved back to Vancouver,” he said. “Just no time anymore with the travel of hockey, I kind of had to choose.”
Focusing on hockey seemed to be the right choice for Ferraro, however. He posted 16 goals and 30 assists in an injury-shortened season with the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL last season. He played in 53 games in 2009-10, but said that he may have rushed back to hockey before the injury had fully healed.
Even though he decided to play hockey exclusively, Ferraro still finds time to watch baseball whenever he can. At this week’s development camp, he was anxiously for the prospects’ annual trip to Comerica Park for a Detroit Tigers’ game.
“It was great last year,” Ferraro said. “I loved doing it. I go to Seattle games all the time, or as much as I can, catch some Mariners’ game.”
Ferraro took advantage of hometown connections and his dad to meet some baseball superstars, as well. He was happy to point out that he has a Jason Bay (also a Trail, B.C. native) autographed jersey hanging on his bedroom wall, and that he met former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine when his dad was playing for the Thrashers. Glavine was a fourth-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 1984.
“We watched (Glavine) come out, because he was drafted in the NHL as well,” Ferraro said. “So he came to a Thrashers’ practice, and I met him there. And in some charity games I’ve met Chipper Jones and Javy Lopez, so a couple good players.”
Ferraro did not have an opportunity to meet any of the Tigers’ players during last year’s visit, and he said he would enjoy talking to any of them, with no player in particular.
“Just talking to any of them, it’s cool to talk to a player from another sport,” Ferraro said. “They’re kind of going through the same thing, but especially in baseball, it’s amped up even more. It’s a completely different ballpark. It’s pretty nice.”