By BOB ELLIOTT
The Wheatley tree has deep Canadiana roots.
From Glace Bay, N.S. to Cape Breton, to Edmonton to Iowa and next fall to Virginia.
Ken Graham, Jack Wheatley’s grandfather, played ball in Glace Bay and was recently inducted into the Cape Breton Sport Hall of Fame as part of the 1971-72 Glace Bay Junior Miners.
Jeff Graham, Jack’s uncle, pitched for the Glace Bay Colonels in 1987. It was the first of five trips to the Little League World Series in Williamsport by the Colonels, coached by the legendary, Hall of Fame coach Henry Boutillier.
Matt Wheatley (Edmonton, Alta.) played ball and attended an Orv Franchuk camp when he was about 16 years old. Franchuk was a baseball lifer. He scouted and coached in the minor league systems of the Cincinnati Reds (1977-1984), California Angels (1988-1994), Oakland Athletics (1995-2002) Boston Red Sox (2003-2006), Houston Astros (2007-2008), the Texas Rangers (2009) and the San Diego Padres (2010).
Matt then switched to cycling and was quite competitive both at the velodrome and in road races, competing at the national level. Now, Matt is a neurosurgeon at the University of Alberta hospital in Edmonton.
Matt’s younger brother, Casey, played all types of sports growing up. Casey’s son is Jack Wheatley. He has signed a letter of intent to pitch for the Liberty University Flames, as well as returning to Greg Hamilton’s Junior National team camp in April.
Jack’s cousin (Matt’s son) Chas made his debut for the Iowa Hawkeyes, blanking the Cornell Big Red for an inning in a 8-0 win before 538 fans at Iowa City, Iowa. Chas took over in the fourth inning and worked a scoreless inning, striking out a pair in his 1-2-3-4 innings. He allowed a base hit and the other out was a ground ball.
Chas had an ulnar nerve issue in his pitching elbow that forced him to stop pitching for two years. With great fortitude he rehabbed his arm and earned a berth at Iowa.
READ MORE: Chas-ing Glory
Both Chas and Jack have signed on to pitch for the Edmonton Riverhawks of the West Coast League this summer.
And next fall, Jack’s younger brother Luke, who is 15, will attend Vauxhall or his grade 11 year).
The Wheatley-Graham clan almost has coast-to-coast appeal on the diamond.
(This article appears with permission from the Canadian Baseball Network.)