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Tug McGraw
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Tug McGraw
Tug McGraw
Inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame, 1993
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 8 of 974 players
McGraw
Frank Edwin McGraw
Born: August 30, 1944 at Martinez, Cal.
Died: January 5, 2004 at Nashville, Tenn.
Throws: Left Bats: Right
Height: 6.01 Weight: 185

Tug McGraw has been the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup 132 times, most recently on April 13, 2014.

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First Mets game: April 18, 1965
Last Mets game: September 28, 1974

Brother of Henry McGraw





Winner of National League Player of the Week award, June 17, 1973, September 1, 1974. (New York Mets)

Share your memories of Tug McGraw

HERE IS WHAT OTHER METS FANS HAVE TO SAY:

Bob Murphy
Someone told me he was traded in winter of 74 because he had an affair with Bud Harrelson's wife. Anyone know whether there is any validity to this?

john harding
Bob that is a true story. I was about twelve years old in 1966 and was living with my family in an apartment in Rego Park. The unit above us was usually vacant but a couple of times a week there was definitely some action going on. I can vividly remember my father complaining to the landlord early one saturday morning about the noise the night before. The landlord was a big fan and hinted to my father that there may be some box seats to be had if he were to remain a stand up guy.

Nothing more came of it, but later that summer I was awakened one night to a furious commotion above my bedroom. I really didn't understand the sounds at that time but the next morning I remember walking outside and being face to face with one of my idols, Tug McGraw and a lady friend. The landlord secured me a quick autograph and I raced off to tell the old man. Later on I overheard my father and our landlord chuckling about the prior nights activities.

"I wonder what Bud would say if he knew Tug was pinch hittin' with his old lady," my father snickered.

I saw them 3 or 4 more times that summer and heard them a couple more.

Years later I had a much better appreciation for what went on and my old man and I still get a lot of laughs out of it. I'll tell you something, the noise they used to make, and the way she would walk down the block the next morning. Old Tug really put the boots to her; one time she even left in a wheelchair.

robert lanzarotta
I had the priviledge of seeing Tug start and WIN the very first game that the Mets beat Sandy Koufax. My father paid an usher 20 bucks to get us section 1 field level. It was one of the only times I think that the Mets beat Koufax. Back then Tug would start the occasional game or two but found his home in the pen. He is also one of the most friendly, clever, and funniest of the older Mets.

BluesDuke
Tug McGraw did indeed start and win the first Met victory over Sandy Koufax (1965). During 1966, en route to his stupefying (with that arthritic elbow) 27-9, 312 strikeout, 1.72 ERA season, Koufax, alas, got knocked out of the box midway through the game by the Mets, who went on to win it. As for Tug McGraw, he should also be remembered for an exchange with Casey Stengel when Stengel came to take him out of a game: Said McGraw, "Skip, I know I can get this next guy, I've gotten him out twice already." Said Stengel, "Yeah - but you did it in this inning."

Timmy B
I remember when he was traded to the Phillies, my mother still has the news clippings. He was my favorite Met back then, and it was a heartbreaker to have to see him go to, of all teams, the Phillies. He was the spirit of the Mets back then. Even though I hated the Phillies (and still do) back then, I was glad to see Tug win a World Series again.

Mr. Sparkle
This guy was great!! One of the best team players they ever had. Tug had the fire! It was a shame to see him go to the Phillies and actually spend one more year there than he did in Shea. I hope he considers himself more of a Met than a Phillie. THe Phillies really skeeve me!

Mr. Sparkle
April 19, 2001
Just heard him on the fan talking about the first time he pitched "against" the Mets as a member of the Phillies. He told the story of how after the inning he walked off the mound towards the Mets dug out an a couple of players told him he was going the wrong way. I remember that like it was yesterday. You gotta love the guy for that move whether it was on purpose or not!!!!

And if anyone is going to get Faith Hill it might as well be the son of the great Tug McGraw!

Celebrity Bowling
July 24, 2001
As a kid we used to go to Shea a couple of times a year. We would get there real early, as soon as the gates were open we'd watch bp. Tug used to play with the fans, throw a rubber ball for us to throw back, etc. Gotta love the guy.

Oh yeah, he could pitch, too. What kind of scouting did the Mets have? I think Whitey Herzog may have had a lot to do with it. Within a couple of years of each other the Mets came up with Seaver, Ryan, Koosman, and McGraw. Not bad, huh?

Jim Snedeker
November 26, 2001
I heard that he got his nickname when he was an infant, from the way he would clamp down on his mom while he was breastfeeding. (Hmm... wonder where I would have heard that? Doesn't sound like something Bob Murphy would mention.)

I also recall a game that Tug started, and ended up winning 1-0, pitching nine shutout innings! No high- priced reliever bum of today could do that... even the starters can't do that anymore...

P.S. Along with Art Shamsky and Duffy Dyer, Tug made up the triumvirate of crushes my little sister had on Mets players in the early 70s.

Roger Hansen
December 18, 2001
I owe a lot to Tug McGraw. He taught me the screwball. When I was 14 years old I saw Tug demonstrate how he threw his screwball between games of a doubleheader. I tried it and it worked so well that I made my varsity high school team as a sophomore. I pitched all the way through college and I was able to make Honorable Mentioned All-American (NAIA 1980) despite that fact that I was never able to break 80MPH on my fastball. I was told that I had major league screwball and a high school fastball. In fact at age 46 I'm going to pitch in old timers league (Ponce deLeon) this spring. I've had so much fun in my baseball career even though it's been totally amateur. It's opened doors for me and I've made many friends through the years because of baseball and I can credit Tug McGraw's tip he gave me 32 years ago. I'll be a lifelong TM and Mets fan!!!

Miller
January 27, 2002
I was born in 1970, and the Mets were my family's team. I was raised watching and rooting for the Mets. Tug was one of my mom's favorite players. I now live in South Carolina, and just a few months ago I got to see him pitch again at a charity game. It was great seeing him slap his glove on his leg as he returned to the dugout. Since I know one of the girls who does promotions between innings at the stadium here, I gave her a ball and asked her to get Tug's autograph for me. She went into the dugout and returned a few minutes later with the signed ball. She said, "I hope he's the only guy on the team who's name starts with 'Mc' because I that was all I could see of the jersey, and I didn't want to interrupt him." After looking at the ball, I realized it wasn't Tug's signature, but didn't stop to figure out who's it was. I gave it back and she tried again. This time she returned with Tug's signature on the ball. When I got back to my seat and looked at the ball, I immediately realized that the other signature was Roger McDowell's! I now have that ball proudly displayed!

Joe Davis
January 29, 2002
I remember when he made that lame ass commercial with his son and the guy from Slapshot. Those were the days.

richie
January 31, 2002
I was home for lunch from the 5th grade when I heard the news on the old WNEW 1130 NY that the Mets had traded Tug McGraw. I can't imagine when I was ever sadder in my life. He was my favorite Met, the spiritual leader of the '73 NL champs, and I felt absolutely betrayed. How could they do such a thing? I wrote a very angry letter to GM Joe McDonald, and can you believe he took time to answer, explaining how the organization has to plan for the future, look at the big picture, etc. I didn't like his reasoning, but I have to admit I respected his reply. My love affair with the Mets continues 'til today, but I lost a little tiny bit of my childhood innocence that day.

Andy from Rego Park
March 14, 2002
The man who coined the rallying cry of '73 (now transmuted to "Always Believe"... Tug lives!), Tug was the last active player to have played for Casey Stengel. And, as happy as I was to see him win the World Series for the Phillies in 1980, it hurt to hear him say at their victory rally a few days later, "New York can take this championship and stick it!" Despite all that, he's still a Met legend, and, arguably, their best closer ever.

Jim Snedeker
March 15, 2002
Tug coined the rallying cry "Ya Gotta Believe!" late in the 1973 season. This helped to propel the last-place Metsies into the World Series.

Since then, many other sports teams have adopted this phrase without giving the Tugger due credit. Shame on them!

I went to a game in 1972 and our seats were right above the Mets' bullpen. I took a picture of Tug lounging on the bench (the Mets won that day, 12-2), right next to the tomato plants he and Joe Pignatano kept by the bullpen wall.

Metsmind
December 25, 2002
This guy was the embodiment of everything the Mets were in the late 60's-- talented, brash, raw, handsome. He showed flashes early, but was beatable and didn't establish his role. The Mets matured as he did-- he was their heart long before the 73 pennant race.

When Yogi was managing, Tug and Tom Seaver had their own gameplan and signal for when Tug should start warming up, they were that in tune. If this franchise had had any damn hitting...

On September 1, 1974, I saw Henry Aaron play for the only time. Tug pitched a 5 hit complete game shutout. Both Aaron and McGraw would be gone from their teams the next season.

Ernie Johnson
January 14, 2003
Like others here my first memory of Tug McGraw was that game when the Mets beat Sandy Koufax for the first time. Up until 69 I considered that to be the best win in the history of the Mets. My second memory occurred during the 69 season. The Mets were in the midst of a California sweep vs the Padres, Dodgers and Giants. In one of the Giant games the Mets had a slim lead late but the Giants had Mays and McCovey coming to bat. Tug McGraw struck out both sluggers, preserving the win. In my opinion it was THAT game that propelled Tug to become the premier reliever for the Mets. I think that game made me a believer that the Mets could have a winning season. Thanks TUG!

Steve Console
March 14, 2003
I just heard that Tug is gravely ill. I will never forget the joy he brought to my life as a kid. His passion and exuberance for the game and his "Ya Gotta Believe" will be something I will always cherish. God Bless You, Tug.

Jim Snedeker
April 3, 2003
So in 2003, the Mets suffer their worst Opening Day loss in history.

Big deal. Yesterday Tug McGraw was discharged from the cancer center where he underwent a five-hour operation to remove a huge brain tumor. The doctor said they got the tumor and things look good.

And at the game, former Met teammates, as well as many fans, signed a giant Get Well card for Tug. And Tug's son Mark threw out the first pitch.

I'd say overall, it was a good day.

Herman
January 6, 2004
It's a sad day for baseball-- Tug McGraw died today. It seems strange how it affected me. To me he was only one of a handful of ballplayers who truly seemed to enjoy the game. It always appeared to me that he would play for free. My memories of him will always be of his right gloved hand slapping his thigh as he came off the mound and his "YA GOTTA BELIEVE" mantra. He was my first favorite player when I discovered baseball and I was crushed when he was traded. I followed his career and rooted for him whenever he pitched for the Phils. I also wished him well when he got sick. To me #45 will always be Tug McGraw. My heartfelt condolences to his family. The little boy in me is fading away.

Andy from Rego Park
January 6, 2004
Tug McGraw died tonight.

As a 38-year-old whose first meaningful baseball memories come from the '73 NL pennant race, its fair to say that a little bit of my childhood died with him.

"You gotta believe!" he said.

And I did.

May he rest in peace.

MR MET 24
January 6, 2004
Very sad news last night, the passing of Tug. I can rememeber when he first came to the Mets in 65 and was still serving in the reserves. I believe the 1965 yearbook had a picture of him in uniform. I will always remember the day he became the first Met to record a win against Sandy Koufax. The heart and soul of Yogi's over achievers in 1973. It's a shame he was ever traded. I can still see him standing on the mound, in the stretch, tapping his glove on his thigh, Then came Murphy's call "...here is the wind up and the pitch, screw ball strike three and the inning is over." No on can ever say he did not live life to its fullest. I have some friends that knew him in his Philly years and they tell many stories of the Tugger and the great times he lived. RIP my friend, this world is better for you having been in it.

Joe Figliola
January 6, 2004
It is virtually impossible not to like Tug McGraw. His daughter-in-law, Faith Hill? That's another story. And speaking of stories, here's a couple from my mind.

The first time I got "up close and personal" with Tug was watching him on the TV show "Wonderama" around 1971 or '72. Bob McCallister, then the host, had him on for the beginning of the show and he was sitting along with the kids and answering questions. Out of the blue, one young man asked him how many home runs Tug had hit. I remember Tug laughing very hard and going into the detail the only bomb he belted against Montreal. Later, he did a baseball skit with some of the youngsters who were wearing handlebar moustaches and early 1900s uniforms. The only thing I can remember from that is Tug asking McCallister whether he liked cookies, and then belting him with what looked like a pillow caked with baby powder. That was Tug... having a ball.

I also liked the clips featuring him in the Mets' 25th anniversary video (I wish this stuff would come out on DVD!). The one thing I remembered most was that Tug told about how his Phillies teammates would dread coming to New York in the late 1970s when the Amazin's were so bad and no one was watching them. Tug would remind how great a city this was. I think that was also his way of never forgetting his Mets roots.

And up until he had his surgery, I liked that Tug always kept his hair long... as if to say 'here I am; accept me for who I am." And his character and good nature went beyond the long hair and the antics. He was a good person and a great pitcher. We'll always believe.

Madelyn O'Boyle
January 6, 2004
Being born and raised in Brooklyn by a die-hard Mets fan I had no choice but to love those guys from the late 60's, early 70's teams...but my favorite right from the start was Tug McGraw. His take no prisoners attitude on the mound, and his absolute love of life and the game were the things that endeared him to his teammates and then naturally to the fans. I met him in Prospect Park at a fan fest at the lake. He was personable and kind to all the kids in the crowd. Guess being a "Big Kid" himself made it easy for him to relate to us. His passing yesterday has broken my heart. I was so sure he had beaten the brain cancer that also claimed the life of my Mets fan mom. My heart goes out to his family and all who knew and loved him. May God grant him eternal rest.

Laurie
January 6, 2004
I met Tug in 1973 (I was 9 going on 10). I had a schoolgirl crush on him and nervously asked for his autograph. He caught on to the crush thing immediately, what with all my blushing and stammering, and started teasing me in a "flirty" way, just to make me blush even more. That was fun to him. I was dying.

Fast forward to three or four years ago. I'm well into my mid-thirties, and a friend and I manage to get tickets to some hoity-toity MLB dinner. We spot Tug and run over to him. He is signing my ball and I say to him, "I first met you when I was 9, and you flirted with me!" He smiles and says "I did? Good for me!!" Everyone laughs, then he looks at me and winks, and in his best "dirty old man" voice, says... "Well you're not 9 years old any moooore..."

Rest in peace, Tugger. You are truly one of a kind.

Timmy B
January 10, 2004
It was 1973 that I first became fully aware of baseball and, in specific, the Mets. I will never forget the excitement the Mets had generated in the late Summer and Fall of that year. And my most vivid memory from then is Tug. The hair, his smile, and the slapping the glove on his leg after getting a big out will be forever burned into my fond memories of those days. When you are a child you rarely notice the times when a pitcher has a bad day (maybe you see it, but don't believe it), but it always seemed when Tug pitched, he did well. Now we all know this isn't true, but that's just how it seemed to me all those years ago.

When he was dealt to the Phillies, it was then I was introduced to the cruelty that sometimes exists in professional sports. "How dare they trade a hero of mine?" It was hard to swallow at 9 years old. But for Tug I guess it all worked out in the end. He won himself another World Series title (albeit with the dreaded Phillies, how come he couldn't have been dealt to the Cubs?) and I believe although he played in Philadelphia, his heart was always close to NY.

It's now time for the Mets to step up and retire Tug's #45. This way when a new generation of youth goes to Shea and asks about the "45" out on the outfield wall, Tug's history with the Mets can be re-lived again and again.

Steve Green
January 10, 2004
Amid the other recalls, submitted here is the story of him in the victorious 1969 Mets clubhouse, going around with an apple under his chin and introducing himself to reporters with 'Hi. I'm with the Baltimore Orioles'.

This fellow just plain had fun. We all should evoke such memories. One gets the idea he's remembered the way he wanted to be remembered, amid stories told by a lot of happy people. His wake must've brought new definition to the word.

Bob R
January 13, 2004
It was impossible not to like Tug McGraw. He was a real individual, enthusiastic and outspoken. His talent and clutch performances twice took the Mets to the World Series. Obviously, it was a mistake to trade him. I wish today's younger fans could have enjoyed Tug, who had such a joy of baseball and life. His life ended far too soon. Thanks for the memories, Tugger.

Joseph Kohler
January 15, 2004
My memories of Tug McGraw mainly exist in the way he played the game. He is the main reason I started liking baseball. The buzz created by the Mets in 1973 was all the rage and for this 7 year old it was everything to me. He made the game fun as it should be. Now, watching these players moan about everything, it gets a little old. His trade to the Phillies was crushing, but his success afterward was well deserved. Roger McDowell was probably as close as you could get to Tug. A huge loss for the baseball community in two cities.

Kevin Hance
January 24, 2004
I went to school with Carrie and Mark in Wallingford, PA. My memories are Tug's final out of the 1980 WS. He is a Phillie to me. In Middle School Tugger came for Carrer Day and I will always remember that day because as a kid, he told our group how he got the name "Tugger" from when he was an infant with his mother.

That story was like seeing a naked lady on TV as a kid. God Bless ya Tugger!!!

Larry Burns
January 24, 2004
This guy was a great reliever and one of those characters that make baseball the greatest sport in America. I was saddened by his struggle against brain cancer and his death. One thing that keeps getting lost in his remembrances. Everyone recalls his mitt slapping team inspiring run in 1973 to the pennant. He made popular the phrase "You gotta Believe." I had heard that the slogan was orignally stated to mock M. Donald Grant. The story as I understand it was that Grant was trying to give a "fire'em up, rally the troops" speech to the team in 1973. The players were half listening to this jackass drone on about "never surrender and believe in yourselves" when Tug stood up and began to shout, "You Gotta Believe!" The team supposedly loved it and were more fired up by his mocking of Grant then anything else. The story got legs and since the the Mets went on a winning streak right after it, the players jokingly said it was because of Tug's performance in the clubhouse. So what was actually intended as mocking humor ended up becoming a true rallying cry. You can't make this stuff up---this is why baseball rules.

Jonathan Stern
January 31, 2004
My favorite player of all time and one of my two or three biggest heroes, in or out of baseball.

It's hard to be both a Mets fan and a Phillies fan (I'm much more the former than he latter!), but Tug made it possible. Growing up in central Jersey in the late 70's, the Mets were hard to watch, while down the Turnpike, The Vet was (honest!) an exciting, beautiful place, the Phils were winning, and the Tugger, more than anyone else, made that stadium and city seem like Disneyworld. He came to my local Burger King in 1980 to sign autographs and was every bit the flake. But later in the season, when he was on the mound trying to nail down the Phillies' first World Championship, interesting though he ALWAYS made things, I just knew he'd get it done. There was just something about him that made defeat seem impossible.

Later, I saw the light and became a Mets fan. A large reason why was because of reading about Tug's Miracle Mets exploits, of which, born in 1970 as I was, I have no recollections. Over time, I've realized that, for me, Tug was baseball. Cynical as I've grown over the last ten years, I am not as much so now because I know that there was only one Tug McGraw. Baseball is better now that I know that not only will there never be another, but there was never another in the first place. I'm more realistic about ballplayers now.

Still, I'm heartbroken. But Tug would not want me to remain this way too long. Anyway, I look forward to going to Heaven one hundred years from now. Tug's there, so it has to be like 1980 Veteran's Stadium (or 1969-73 Shea) and I know I'm gonna get there. Why?

Jim Snedeker
February 19, 2004
Wasn't one of Tug's many claims to fame that he was the last active player who had played under manager Casey Stengel?

In a strange twist of fate I ordered, from Tug's company, a "Ya Gotta Believe" baseball cap, signed by Tug, as a Christmas present for my sister who had had a crush on Tug 30 years ago. After unwrapping it Christmas morning, she immediately put it on and was the happiest ex-Mets fan there was. Two weeks later Tug had died, and you couldn't buy the hats anymore.

Kevin C. Delahanty, MD
May 10, 2004
When I was a youngster I vaguely remember Tug pitching in the NY-Penn league franchise in Auburn, NY, (the Auburn Mets). When I first saw the news reports about his illness I was impressed with Tug's desire for privacy. I'm a physician and it didn't take long to figure out what was happening to him. Anyway, last year I find myself deployed with a Naval Fleet hospital in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. One day I'm sitting in our ICU in front of a computer watching the GAMEDAY report of a Mets game and I notice that Tug McGraw is making a public statement regarding his illness. Long story short, I went to his web page and sent him a message of support from myself and several other Mets fans. Wouldn't you know it, Tug writes back to us, sending us HIS support and well wishes. I still get misty-eyed thinking about it. I'll be hanging on to that letter. Nice man. Via con Dios!

Maxwell Kates
June 22, 2004
Tug McGraw was perhaps the only baseball player ever responsible for sending me to the principal's office in grade school. In the sixth grade, every student had one week to start the day by some sort of visual arts presentation. My choice was a standup comedy routine. The first day, I decided to offer a pun on the former principal's name, which happened to be Mr. Goodyear. "He's not fat but he's a blimp." Yer out of here!

It seemed that week I spent more time in the office waiting room than the cleaning lady. One day, I decided to tell some Tug McGraw jokes. Told the one about how he planned to spend his raise. "Ninety percent will be spent on good times, beautiful women, and Irish whiskey. The rest I'll probably waste." Or the situation when he met his wife. "She and I had a lot in common. We were both from California and we were both drunk." I think it was that one which earned me a one way ticket to visit the principal.

Lucky for me, the principal was an ex-football player with the sense of humour of a professional athlete. He didn't see what the problem was, and thought it was too bad more students didn't introduce locker room humour to the classroom.

Rick Crane
October 20, 2004
With all the great memories and stories about Tug, I have a rather obscure one. Every year, my cousin (who is a die-hard Phillie fanatic) and I see a Mets- Phils game. There is only one team that I hate more than the Yankees and that's the Phillies. Regardless, it gives me a chance to bond with my favorite relative. It was late in the 1985 season during a meaningless late September game and Tug was facing Rusty Staub. Both players had announced their retirements at the end of the year, so for all practical purposes it was probably the last time they would face each other. I vividly remember Tug staring down Rusty, then tossing a 55 mph curve, right into Rusty's rather ample right ass cheek. Everyone in the crowd at Shea roared and had a blast, except Rusty, who genuinely appeared pissed. God bless you Tug!

Roscoe Bernard
November 23, 2005
I recall Tug and a bunch of other Mets players on Kiner's Korner after a game in '69; I don't recall which game but it very well could have been the clinching game vs the Cards as champagne was flowing and there was quite a lot of hooting and hollering going on. Poor Ralphie Boy was getting soaked and shouted over, and when he tried to do a commercial for Household Finance, Tug grabbed the copy, read some, and ad libbed the rest! A stunned Kiner just let him do the entire commercial. It made for great TV. We'll never see that again.

I also want to know why nowadays whenever we see footage of Tug on ESPN, or when he passed, or when his son Tim references him on TV, etc., that Tug is always shown pitching in his Phillies uniform. That always makes me a bit sad.

Metfanforlife
January 3, 2006
Tug exemplified that 73 team - tough, hardworking, fun and at times, electrifying. I remember being crushed when he was traded. It just seemed so wrong!

I remember reading recently something he wrote about how he was glad he had had the chance to be a father to his son Tim when he was older, since he kind of blew it when he was young and reckless. He seemed to have gained maturity and wisdom to go with his endless charm and good humor.

RIP Tug. One of a kind. Met fans will never forget you!

Jonathan Stern
January 17, 2006
Tug's memoirs are a real tear-jerker, with some laughs sprinkled here and there. If you read his book, you will find out that his life was even more amazin' than his baseball career, not to mention reflective of his career. As he himself put it, throughout his life he had to load the bases before pulling out the win. To sum up: Tug was always there for the fans but rarely there for his family (and never there for his illegitimate son, Tim McGraw) until his last decade, when he tried to make amends. Then, when the cancer struck, they rallied to his side and were with him to the end.

diehardmetsfan
February 11, 2007
I remember a game in 1975, his first year in Philadelphia. It was his first game back at Shea and I was excited to see him although I hated that Philly uniform on him. He came into the game late, got a key out and as he always did, started to pound his glove on his leg on the way to the dugout. Only he was walking towards the METS DUGOUT! After crossing the first base line, he looked up, realized where he was going, put his arms up and said, "noooo" turned and walked to the Philly dugout. Never knew if he had planned that, but if he did, he pulled it off perfectly.

Jamey Bumbalo
February 11, 2007
I can't add to the stories about Tug's colorful personality, I won't bother to talk about his go-get- 'em playing, and I won't belabor the point how he is so beloved. I'll just point out that going into the 1969 season, his career stats were 4-19 and an ERA of 4.47 (and that's when ERA's were low)-- and look what he did after that. RIP, Tug.

KD
September 22, 2007
Tug's book was very good. You should also try to find his original "Screwball" book from 194. His life in that one is very glossed over, but full of funny stories. There is one story no one ever mentions anymore. On camera day in 72, Willie Mays got stuck in traffic and was late for the pre-game camera time the Mets had set for the fans. So, Tug put on Willies' uniform and went out in black face, and posed for pictures with the fans. I heard the Mets traded him because they thought he had cancer in the winter of 74/75. There was a lump on his back. when he got to the Phillies they had it drained and he was fine.

Dan Gurney
November 8, 2007
I have no idea what the story was with Tug and Bud Harrelson's wife but Bud was not very complimentary to Tug when McGraw was traded. Said something to the effect he thought after a loss he ran home and cried. Tug's older brother Hank played in the Mets farm system but never in the bigs. Hank got into some trouble with long hair in the late 1960s. In September 1980 Sparky Lyle was acquired by the Phillies to help them down the stretch but was not eligible to play in October. During the World Series the TV camera focused on someone in the Phillies seating section with a mustache so the TV announcers identified him as Sparky Lyle. It was actually Hank McGraw cheering his brother on. Sparky Lyle was at home watching on TV and said "Hello Sparky" when this misidentification happened.

Mark
December 6, 2007
As bad as this past season's meltdown was - it really hurt when watching one of the Phillies-Rockies games and on TV they showed a Phillie fan holding up a banner that said something to the effect of "You Gotta Believe" with a tribute to Tug. Hey Phillie fans - that line is associated with Tug and the 1973 METS! Don't take credit for that being a Phillie rallying cry!

Herman
October 1, 2008
I bought and read his book, "Ya Gotta Believe." A great book about a guy who was my first favorite player in baseball. I passed on buying it once. Why? Because the image and memory I have of Tug was still that of Awe and reverence. I didn't want to have my image of him tarnished. I am in my forties, and yet the kid in me likes to remember his heroes the way they were. I finally bought the book. Are some of the things that he did unflattering, yes. However, he did do the right thing by his son, he was honest about his life and his actions and I admired his fight to live. Even though I knew the outcome, the ending still shocked me. It didn't seem fair. Tug, really was a real life version of Peter Pan. The boy who refused to grow up. The world needs more Tug McGraws. I also learned something else, I was wrong, the book did not tarnish my hero but made him brighter. May he rest in peace.

Phanatic
March 9, 2009
Philly fan here.

Tug sorta carried around the "Ya Gotta Believe" wherever he went, so of course when the Mets traded him to the Phils it came along as part of the deal.

Gotta love his classic description of the 1980 postseason...said it was like taking a motorcycle ride through an art museum. There's a lot of great images but they fly by so fast you don't have time for them to sink in.

Went to a game at the Vet vs the Dodgers. He was intentionally walking someone when one of his pitches got too close to the plate and the batter knocked it into right field and the Dodgers got some crucial runs.

Well, that got Tugger's irish up and the next batter was plunked and it was the one and only time I saw the benches clear in person.

On the 2008 WS DVD you can see his son Tim drop a few of his ashes on the Citizens Bank Park mound. I'm sure he'd do it at Citi Field if the Mets ever get back to the Series.

david lozano
November 30, 2009
I met Tug McGraw once at Northern California Scouts dinner honoring Roy Partee. (He signed Tug, Bud Harrelson, George Theodore, Jay Kleven and a host of others.) It was 1975 and Tug definitely was a free thinker but a winner and leader. That night I will never forget he was all dressed up in suit and tie but underneath, if anybody remembers when puca shells were a fad, he had them on. His advice to me as a young prospect was work hard and be yourself and never let anyone tell you you're not good enough. Also Sports Illustrated did an article on his brother Hank who was also a free thinker.

John in Parsippany
March 21, 2010
I always loved watching Tug do his thing on the mound, especially in that stretch run of '73. But, I must admit, I was stunned when I learned, upon his death, that he and his long-time wife, Phyllis, had split and he had married someone else, and had a kid to that woman. Does anyone know the story of how Tug and Phyllis's marriage ended up on the rocks after so long? Based on the entries here, it sounds like he had a roving eye during their marriage. Sorry to hear this 'cause I really liked Tug.

Rob Irwin
March 19, 2013
I met Tug Mcgraw in 1973. I was on a children's show called Wonderama. I was picked out of the audience to do a stunt with Tug. I remember him throwing his fastball against a piece of plexiglass in front of a camera. The idea was he threw so hard he would break the plastic. My job was to get the ball after it hit the plexiglass. I was hoping that episode was on YouTube but I had no luck finding it. He gave me a team ball signed by every 1973 N.Y Met. He was such a nice guy and is one of my favorite Mets of all time. Thanks for the memories Tug. Rest in peace.

Salamander
May 10, 2013
Tug was a key figure for both the Mets and Phillies in his career. But with which team was he better treated? When the news of his brain tumor came out in 2003, the New York Daily News mentioned it somewhere in the back of its sports section with little or no interest. Meanwhile, his picture appeared on the front page of the Philadelphia Daily News. It appeared as if Tug was more respected in Philly, at least at that emotional time.

Why was this the case? It could have had something to do with Tug's actions during the Phils' World Championship celebration in 1980. Caught up in the moment, he said to the Philadelphia crowd "New York can take this championship and stick it!" It was a comment directed to the Big Apple media (not the Mets fans) and probably not forgotten by those in it. This could easily be the reason that the New York press didn't cover the sad news of his condition the way it should have.

Quality Met
May 15, 2013
Salamander, I understand what you're saying, but I think you're a little off on something. The reason McGraw's brain tumor was such a big story in Philly was that he became a reporter in that town after his career ended. This created a special bond with himself and the folks there that just didn't exist anywhere else. Tug was really looked at as one of their own in Philadelphia.

Also, Tug and New York seemed to lose touch with each other once he was traded, which was six years before his "stick it" quote. They didn't get reconnected until his induction into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1993 and the silver anniversary of the '69 Miracle a year later.

Metsmind
May 22, 2013
I seem to recall that McGraw considered re-joining the Mets when he was a free agent, only to decide late to stay in Philly; there was no real bad blood between him, this city, or Mets management. It was something that nearly happened.

I also think his stick it to NY quote came from, or was also referred by Tug, at the time he chose to stay with the Phils?

Anyone can corroborate?

Jonathan Stern
May 30, 2013
At the end of the 1980 World Series victory parade, the Phils took turns thanking the fans seated at JFK Stadium. Fittingly, Tug was the last to speak. He ended his speech by stating, "All throughout baseball history, Philadelphia has had to take a backseat to New York City. Well, New York City can take this world championship and stick it, 'cause WE'RE NUMBER ONE!" In a DVD I have about the 1980 team, an additional extra film shows Tug, twenty years later, saying that his comment was aimed at the writers, that a lot of fans were offended, but, you know, they got over it.

Rob Irwin
September 6, 2013
I met Tug Mcgraw in 1973. I was on a children's show called Wonderama. I was picked out of the audience to do a stunt with Tug. I remember him throwing his fast ball against a piece of plexiglass in front of a camera. The idea was he threw so hard he would break the plastic. My job was to get the ball after it hit the plexiglass. I was hoping that episode was on YouTube but I had no luck finding it. He gave me a team ball signed by every 1973 N.Y Met. He was such a nice guy and is one of my favorite Mets of all time. Thanks for the memories Tug. Rest in peace.









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