GREGG ZAUN - ZAUNY
DARING SUITS, BOLD THINKER, STAUNCH SUPPORTER
Gregory “Gregg” Owen Zaun was born on April 14, 1971, against the sunny backdrop of the foothills of Glendale, California. From as far back as he can remember, sport in one form or another has always been a big part of Gregg's life. Between his mother Cherie who was a professional golfer and coach at the University of Southern California, and his two uncles, Rick Dempsey who played catcher for the Orioles, Dodgers, Indians and Brewers, and Pat Dempsey who played eleven years pro ball, it seemed like athleticism and sport; more specifically baseball was arguably in his foreseeable future.
Eight miles north of Glendale, Gregg went to St. Francis High School, an all boys school where he could hone and sharpen his skills without the distraction of the fairer sex. This might have worked for baseball, but did little to diminish the legacy set by his uncle Rick of being a quality comic and catcher.
1989 was a busy year for Zaun. He graduated high school, earning himself the Delrey League MVP during in his senior year. That same year Gregg won a gold medal playing for Team USA at the 1989 World Junior Championship and played in the 1989 US Olympic Festival. The most important thing to happen that year which came in the 13th round of the 1989 Draft when he was signed by the Baltimore Orioles, his uncles former team, thus starting his professional career.
IN THE COMMUNITY
Gregg started the foundation that bares his name in an attempt to give back to Canadian families who have given him so much. He tireless efforts for charities such as Wounded Warriors Canada, Parkinson’s Society, Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation, Sick Kids Research Centre, UHN, and Kids Help Phone offer a glimpse at the duality of the man. On one hand, he’s a very polarizing TV figure with little patience for lack of fundamentals. On the other, he is a philanthropist with a knack for thinking outside the box. His creativity has generated thousands of dollars for very deserving Canadian families while tickling the fancy of his supporters and in 2012, Gregg was the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his service.
Before being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1989 MLB Draft, Zaun represented his country as the starting catcher for the USA Junior National team. After parts of 5 seasons in the minor leagues, Gregg reached the majors in 1995. He was the player to be named later in deadline deal with the Florida Marlins. While serving as the backup to Gold Glover Charles Johnson, Zaun won a World Series in 1997. Gregg continued to live his major-league dreams, but it wasn’t until 2004 when the Blue Jays made him their starting catcher that Zaun finally felt at home.fter being traded to the Florida Marlins, Zaun won a World Series in 1997. After that, Gregg continued to live his major-league dreams, but it wasn’t until 2004 when the Blue Jays made him their starting catcher that Zaun finally felt at home.
At the age of 33, Zaun quickly became a valuable player to the team and a beloved personality to the fans. It was while Zaun was a Blue Jay that he had some of his most memorable career moments. Among those milestones, we can certainly count being the 4th Blue Jay in history to homer from both sides of the plate, and his walk-off Grand Slam versus the Tampa Bay Rays in the 13th on September 6, 2008 was an organizational first.
Zaun enjoyed the most productive years of his career while playing for the Jays. His leadership on and off the field helped shape the careers of some of today’s Major League regulars. Gregg was a definitely a “Journeyman” and a “Grinder” throughout his 16 Major League seasons. He gained a unique perspective on the game and it’s inner workings while existing somewhere between starter and backup. When he was drafted in 1989, he was thought of as a defensive specialist, but over time morphed into a very dangerous hitter.
Gregg’s passion and flare for broadcasting began in the midst of his playing days with the Toronto Blue Jays. As Toronto closed out their 2006 season, Gregg was approached by his long-time partner Jamie Campbell, to be the post-season baseball analyst. He logged five years in that capacity before Sportsnet created the show you know as Blue Jays Central four days after he retired from playing. Now Zaun is bringing his MLB expertise to Sportsnet as a full time gig.
His unfiltered opinions and analysis often polarize players and fans. His no holds barred reactions to the game of baseball have endeared him to a Canadian fan base hungry for the truth. His ability to break down the game in terms that everyone can understand set him apart from his peers. His passion for the fundamentals make him a synergy between blue collar and a well-tailored suit.
Zaun wasted little time making his mark on the Canadian broadcasting scene, and is now a 3-time Canadian Screen Award Nominee. Gregg has put down roots in Canada and was recently inked to 5 year contract with Rogers Sportsnet.
Gregg shocked and surprised many in 2013 by becoming a permanent resident of Canada; shocked because most people already thought of him as Canadian given his time with the Blue Jays and on Sportsnet.
To this day, Gregg continues his role at Sportsnet as the hardnosed broadcaster with a heart of gold. When he is not stirring up controversy on the airwaves, he is busy helping families in need through the Gregg Zaun Foundation.