South graduate signs with the Tigers

Cam+Gibson+graduated+from+South+in+2012.++He+played+both+hockey+and+baseball+during+his+high+school+career+and+has+gone+on+to+sign+with+the+Tigers.+

Cam Gibson graduated from South in 2012. He played both hockey and baseball during his high school career and has gone on to sign with the Tigers.

Jennifer Toenjes ’16 | Photo Editor

If baseball could be played on ice, that’s what Cam Gibson ’12 would have done. Unfortunately, skating for a home run just doesn’t have the same ring.

Gibson, son of Kirk Gibson, is following in the cleat-shaped footsteps of his father, Kirk, who is a Fox Sports Detroit baseball colorman and a retired baseball icon who played for the Detroit Tigers as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers and coached for the Arizona Diamondbacks.   

During his time at South, Cam began his baseball career even though hockey took up 10 months out of the year while baseball only took up two, Gibson said.

Because travel hockey took up a lot of his time, Gibson had switched from playing on a AAA hockey team to playing for the Blue Devils.

“If he wanted to be a hockey player, he probably could have been a hockey player,” Kevin Schroeder, a former varsity baseball coach at South, said. “Pretty much anything the kid did, he worked hard for.”

His baseball career really began to develop during his third year in high school.

“During my junior year at South, I was invited to play baseball at a Michigan State University baseball camp,” Cam said. “I threw for them and could tell it didn’t go very well. I then ran and hit for them, and I could tell it went really well.”

Michigan State offered Cam a position on the team after he had played at the camp.  

“My dad and I kinda started laughing,”Cam said. “I didn’t even go there expecting to get offered. Back then I didn’t really know, but I think committing to Michigan State really put things in perspective. I switched hockey leagues and played for South during senior year. We actually made it to state championships but lost at the last game.”

Varsity baseball coach Dan Griesbaum said he could tell that Cam was athletically talented, even then, Cam was expected to do great things.

“He was a pretty elite hockey player,” Griesbaum said. “He hit the ball hard, but he would also strike out early. As he progressed, he just got better, better and better. With Cam, and his dad being who he is, they knew his genetics were there. You had to know,” Griesbaum said. “He had very similar build. He even looked like his father. You knew it would get there at some point. It was just a matter of when.”

“My dad was always working, and always managing when I was growing up, so my mom took his place in coming to all my games and giving me some good advice before, and after the games.”

Although his father could not be present during some of the games, Cam said. He would call before and after to give mechanical strategies to help him improve.

“My mom was more of a ‘control yourself and have fun, and play the game like you did when you were little’,” Cam said. “My brothers and sisters would always make time to come and watch me play, I always had a good support system.”

“During the hockey season, I would often get to baseball practice late, or end up having to leave early, but my coaches were always supportive of that,” Cam said. “They really started it for me, and got me into a serious baseball life.”

“I can’t think of anyone who wanted to win as bad as Cam,” Griesbaum said. He wanted to win more than any other kid on the team.

“He was one of the guys you had to push, because you knew you could,” Schroeder said. “Dad wanted us to push him. If he was slacking off, he wanted us to get after him a little bit. As he got older, he realized, ‘If I keep going in this game, I gotta work harder,” Schroeder said. “I don’t think he ever stopped working hard.”

“The work I put in made me who I am today,” Cam said. “It made me realize that I want to do this. “Once I went to college and was by myself, I kinda used what they said to implement in my life.”

During Cam’s freshman year in college, he was playing UCLA within the first two weeks of the season and he witnessed a kid throw a 90 mph ball was an immediate shock because, he had never been exposed to playing against athletes throw. The atmosphere is pretty different in the college level, Gibson said.  

The past three years Cam said. He cycled into a daily routine of waking up, working out, going to class, studying, and then going to practice. “Then I’d look at the clock and it’s 10:30 at night, and I’m just getting back to my apartment laying down, and realizing that I will have to get up at 7 a.m. and do it all over again the next day,” Cam said.

After recently signing with the Tigers, Cam’s student life became more flexible. The athletic load became spread out during the summer season, and Gibson was able to become closer to a regular student life.

 “I play my season with the Tigers in the spring/summer, and right now during the fall and winter I go back and take classes during the off-season because I don’t have to play baseball,” he said.

“You have to outwork everyone else, just because there is always somebody that wants to take your job,” Griesbaum said. “I’d say the confidence part is so important.” You have to use failure as a learning experience, work hard, and focus on developing the mental game.”

“He’s probably seen more than most of us have,” Schroeder said. “He’s just a great kid. The best advice I can give is to keep grinding.”

Although the development of a young athlete is tedious, as well as intense, Gibson’s commitment to baseball propelled his further developing career, he said.  

“I would not have made it this far if those guys didn’t give me the opportunity to play for South.  My ultimate dream is to win the World Series with my hometown team.  So far I’m on track to do that,” Gibson said. “Now I just have to put in the work to get there.”