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 Tug McGraw

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Tug McGraw

  • Original Name Frank Edwin
  • Birth 30 Aug 1944 Martinez, Contra Costa County, California, USA
  • Death 5 Jan 2004 Brentwood, Williamson County, Tennessee, USA
  • Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: A handful of ashes spread on the pitcher's mound at the Citizens Bank Park
  • Memorial ID 8247015

Major League Baseball Player. Played Major League baseball as a pitcher for 19 seasons from 1965 to 1984 with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. A zany free spirit relief specialist who came to epitomize the love of the game as well as never-say-die determination, he arrived in the Majors with the Mets in 1965, appearing in 37 games for a franchise that was quickly pulling itself out of the expansion doldrums it had been mired in its first few years. A part of the 1969 “Miracle Mets”, he won 9 games, lost 2, and saved 12 as the Mets surprised the National League by winning the Pennant. He appeared in one game in the inaugural National League Championship Series, and sat on the bench as the Mets convincingly defeated the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles 4 Games to 1 in the World Series. Although an occasional spot starter, he was firmly entrenched in his relief role by 1970, and by 1972 he was the established closer on the team. That year he saved 27 games (second only to the Reds Clay Carroll’s 37), and was named to the NL All-Star team. In that years Mid-Summer Classic, he pitched a perfect top of the 10th inning, and, when the Reds’ Joe Morgan knocked in the winning in the bottom of the 10th, he was credited for the win (Jon Matlack in 1975 would be the only other Met to win an All-Star Game). In 1973 he saved another 25 games, helping the Mets to the Eastern Division title. During that season he coined the phrase “You Gotta Believe”, which became the motto for the team. Unlike 1969, however, he would play a prominent role in the team’s postseason. He appeared in two games in the NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds, and pitched a scoreless 9th inning in Game 5 to close the door on the NL Pennant for New York. The subsequent World Series against the Oakland A’s went the whole 7 games, with the A’s taking the Series 4 Games to 3. Tug McGraw appeared in 5 games, winning Game 2 in relief, and saving Game 5. After the 1974 season he was sent to the Philadelphia Phillies in a six player deal. He promptly continued his relief specialist role for his new team, saving 14 games in 1975, and being selected to another NL All-Star team. He became the heart of the bullpen for a Phillies team that reached the post-season six times over eight seasons, and reached his nadir with the 1980 team. He saved 20 games for the Phillies that year, and helped them first to a National League East crown, then a NLCS victory to secure the team’s first NL Pennant in 30 years (saving 2 of the Phils 3 wins). In the following World Series against the Kansas City Royals he appeared in 4 games, saving 2 games, winning Game 2, and losing Game 3. However, in Game 6 he enacted the greatest moment in the 120+ year history of the Phillies when he pitched his way out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the eighth inning, and retired the side in the nineth, striking out the Royals’ Willie Wilson to give the Phils their only World Series championship. He pitched four more years with the Phillies, helping them to the 1983 World Series (where he voluntarily left himself off the postseason roster) before retiring. After his player days he appeared in numerous television spots in the Philadelphia area while filling various roles on and off the field in the Phillies organization, and grew to be one of the most beloved figures in the city. In early 2003 he was diagnosed with brain cancer, and was given only a few months to live. Using his trademark optimism and humor, he lived far past his initial diagnosed time, and partook in the September 2003 closing ceremonies of Veteran Stadium (where he recreated his 1980 World Series strikeout to a roaring, cheering crowd). When he finally passed away in Nashville, Tennessee in January 2004, he was in the home of his son, country music megastar Tim McGraw. His lifetime record was 96 Wins-92 Losses, 824 Games Pitched, 180 Saves (94 with the Phillies – 4th All time for the team), 1,109 Strikeouts and a 3.14 Earned Run Average. During his career he gained a reputation as being a carefree, quotable player with lines such as "Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women and Irish whiskey. The other 10 percent I'll probably waste” (in reference to his World Series share).

Bio by: Russ

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Russ
  • Added: 8 Jan 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8247015
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Tug McGraw (30 Aug 1944–5 Jan 2004), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8247015, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a A handful of ashes spread on the pitcher's mound at the Citizens Bank Park.