Chris Drury famously won a Little League World Series the same year as his hockey team won a Peewee championship. Jarome Iginla was an all-star catcher while leading the Alberta Midget Hockey League in scoring. Kyler Murray, the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, played on the football and baseball teams with the Oklahoma Sooners. Players can have a passion for and excel in multiple sports if given the opportunity.
Another name now on that list is Tyler Black, the Stouffville native who was the first Canadian selected in the 2021 MLB Draft. Picked 33rd overall by the Milwaukee Brewers, Black grew up playing for the Markham Waxers and Richmond Hill Coyotes in the OMHA while also suiting up for the Markham Mariners and Toronto Mets on the baseball diamond during the off-season.
Black relished the breaks in the summer where he could put away his skates and sticks and lace up his cleats and pick up a bat instead.
“I'd come back to the rink and I'd be hungry and ready to go, you know what I mean? Playing both kept me fresh in both. The experiences I had from both sports growing up were just invaluable and I think they continue to hold to this day,” said Black.
Playing multiple sports also helped Black as an overall athlete. The transferrable skills between the two activities benefitted him in both sports.
“Just off the top of my head I'd probably say that hand-eye coordination from hockey definitely helped my baseball one hundred percent. And then being on the ice every day, and just your body always being in good shape definitely helped my baseball. I know that for sure. Learning how to compete at a young age, the intensity, learning how to work with teammates, how to play on a team with other guys. It was a great combination for me.”
Black still maintains close friendships with his former Waxers teammates. He looks back on the minor hockey road trips as some of his favourite memories.
The 21-year-old second baseman had a .383 batting average with 13 homeruns over 48 games this season with Wright State University.
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