Tug McGraw and his son Matthew

Posted Jan 5, 2004

He is still the image of the 1980 World Series Champions. Tug McGraw, who amazingly found the strength to carry the Phillies through a tough late season run, the NLCS and World Series in 1980, passed away Monday at the age of 59. McGraw epitomized the phrase "Ya Gotta Believe", which he coined while a member of the New York Mets.

Tug McGraw, who will always be remembered as one of the key components of the 1980 World Series Champions passed away Monday at the age of 59.

Phillies representative Leigh Tobin reported that McGraw was in Tennessee with his son, country singer Tim McGraw when he passed away. It is believed that McGraw died of complications from brain cancer, which he battled last spring after becoming ill at the Phillies spring training complex. McGraw underwent brain surgery to remove two malignant tumors and recovered enough to spend time at some Phillies games over the summer. McGraw also took part in the Veterans Stadium closing ceremonies when he re-enacted his famous strikeout of Willie Wilson that ended the 1980 World Series.

McGraw came to the Phillies in a 1974 trade with the Mets when general manager Paul Owens traded Del Unser, Mac Scarce and John Stearns to the Mets for McGraw and outfielders Don Hahn and Dave Schneck. McGraw also helped the Phillies to win division titles in 1976, 1977 and 1978 besides being a part of the 1980 World Series Champions and the 1983 team that won the National League pennant.

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