Tug McGraw Biography
Tug had a difficult childhood with an alcoholic father who loved to fight, but his mother "showed him what love was all about." As Tug became older he turned his anger into sports. He played football for Marist College, Syracuse University, UNM, and the Philadelphia Eagles. He played baseball for UNM, the New York Mets, the Montreal Expos, and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Tug McGraw Biography
Tug McGraw was born Lawrence Francis McGraw Jr. on March 3rd 1944 in Westport Connecticut to his father Lawrence Francis McGraw Sr. and mother Marie Therese. He was the second of three children, he had one older brother Phil who was seven years his senior, and one younger sister Pamela who was four years his junior.
Tug's father worked as a sportswriter for the New York World Telegram for over ten years, but left around 1947 to join the family trucking business, "Cappy" McGraw Trucking. Tug stated that his father was not home much due to work reasons, but what time he did spent with him was quality.
Tug's mother Marie Therese, always showed him unconditional love and made sure to make every event in his life special; from his birthdays, to his first holy communion, and even the day he got married.
Tug stated that because of his father's occupation as a truck driver, "he always felt like an oddball." His peers would tease him about it and pick on him for being different than everyone else. But Tug stayed strong and tried his best to rise above the teasing and become a leader among his peers.
Tug played football for Marist College, Syracuse University, and the University of New Mexico. He also played baseball for New Mexico from 1963-1965. Tug was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1965, but was traded to the New York Mets in 1966. In 1969 Tug played for the Montreal Expos and then went back to play with the Mets from 1970-1973. After his first season as a full time starter he had a batting average of .234. In 1972 Ted Williams told Tug that if he changed his stance at the plate he could be successful. His batting average in 1976 was .243 with 24 home runs and 86 RBIs, but after changing his stance to "feet together, knees slightly bent" Tug's average went up to .287 with 25 home runs and 95 RBIs. He became known as an aggressive hitter who was not scared of the ball, especially when it was inside. In 1973 Tug had a batting average of .300 with 22 home runs and 88 RBIs, but his best year as a professional baseball player was in 1981 with the Philadelphia Phillies. That year he batted .340 with 30 home runs and 106 RBIs and won the NLCS MVP Award.
injury, family life, and death
On September 27th of 1983 Tug was pitching in game five of the World Series against Atlanta Braves. He threw a fastball to Dale Murphy that hung high in the strike zone, but it didn't matter because catcher Bob Boone dropped his glove too early. The ball hit Boone's glove and went over the fence for a game-ending home run. This allowed the Phillies to come in second in World Series, behind the Baltimore Orioles.
Tug played with numerous injuries during his career but he never stopped playing baseball. He finished his career with an overall fielding percentage of .990; third highest in major league history among pitchers. He won the world series in 1980 and 1981 with the Philadelphia Phillies, he led the National League in saves from 1973-1975 with the New York Mets. In 1983 Tug was pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies when he suffered a herniated disk, but still pitched 14 innings after back surgery on August 26th. On October 19th of that same year when the Phillies advanced to the World Series with a win over the Milwaukee Brewers, Tug was in so much pain that he couldn't even raise his arm. He went on to have surgery again on September 30th 1984, but it only gave him 33% of his throwing power back.