Swain of Newark, DE writes…
…As an ambassador for everything baseball, he came to see a game at Wilmington
DE's Frawley's Stadium where the Blue Rocks play. Throughout the entire
game, the impromptu line for well-wishers and autograph-seekers remained quite
lengthy as he spent a few seconds with each and every fan both young and old
sharing smiles, handshakes, and signatures. I was amazed by his endurance
and continued interest in playing his part.
came back from hitting the concessions, I decided to swing by just to give a
quick hello and move on. As I was nearing, the opening notes
that signal the start of the traditional mid-seventh theme came
through the speakers. Because everyone wanted to be near Mr. McGraw,
there was a bit of commotion in the area that we were standing. Much to my
surprise, I found myself standing right next to him. As everyone
joined in singing, he noticed that I was trying very hard
not to spill my expensive beverage on his shoes. He smiled; we shared a
brief laugh, the song ended, and everyone returned back to his or her
obvious that he enjoyed himself on his visit to Wilmington and that he served
post-career role with the same enthusiasm he carried onto the
mound. I hope today’s players will follow his
example and maintain the establishment of baseball by giving so much back
as he did after their playing years are over.
a class act and will surely be missed by every baseball
Thank you, Mike. Tug was one of the most humane players
in Philadelphia history. We always felt he was just a regular guy, and this made
his appeal so tangible.
Here is another look at Tug from Louie
D’Amico of Toledo, Ohio.
CD! … as a matter of fact, my greatest memory of Tugger was at the closing
ceremonies at the Vet on September 28th (since I was too young to remember the
World Series- I was 4). I watched Tugger get out of the car to a standing
ovation after battling cancer all summer. He was wearing his famous #45. He
walked over to the mound, threw his pitch to strike out Willie Wilson for the
last time, threw his arms up and landed in Mike Schmidt's arms.
there is nothing better than reliving the most popular moment in Phillies
history during the closing of one book and the start of a new one. Tug McGraw's
love for the Phillies and the fans of Philadelphia will forever live on in my
memory. He was such an awesome person who always said "Ya Gotta
was an awesome tribute to one of the greatest Phillies icon in our 100-year
history. I actually signed his guest book on his official website this afternoon
(tugmcgraw.com) and offered my condolences. I even got a tear in my eye. I was
so praying for him to win his battle with cancer, it's a tragedy”.
Thousands shared Louie’s great
memory, and the tears he shed. Tug was just so real, he was the common man
dressed up in a Phillie uniform. He was you, or I. You captured it well, Louie,
And here’s a fan from
CD… Philly is awash in Tug memories this week--my favorite is of course the
final out of the 1980 WS--another was the parade comments he made-New York can
take this and stick it comment. Another is the courage with which he faced this
year--he maintained the you gotta believe as recently as 3 weeks ago when it was
obvious he was losing ground. Another favorite was on the Vet closing day when
he was the final piece of the day’s activities--there wasn't a dry eye in the
house for much of the festivities but especially where he was concerned--the
place just roared
guess most in Philly loved him because he got the final out for the WS--but he
just seemed to enjoy and have such fun at it--players now seem to be too serious
and need that little boy in them to enjoy it a bit. On one of the bits they
showed today he said he was so lucky that the baseball gods let him have the
ball for that special moment and that he was able to come
Conlin was on DNL today--his favorite memory was a favor Tug did--Conlin had a
son in semi pro ball --somehow Conlin asked Tug to make an appearance--which he
said he was only half serious about--he came and pitched--against Dickie
Noles--he seemed quite touched by it--seems he said yes to most requests
Schmidt’s story was that they --he and Tug had figured they would take the
series and they both wanted to be on the cover of SI--so they conspired that Tug
would wait for Schmidt so that he could jump on him in celebration--and that
picture is still around
Christenson, still a very good friend said Tug came and announced to he and
Carlton and Roman Gabriel--then QB for the Eagles--that they should jog to
Clearwater to ST--Gabe said his knees wouldn't take it but could bike--which
they did--LC said it was the trip of a lifetime
is different than the west coast where sports are concerned--Schill said it
best--it's entertainment in Az--it's a way of life in the East. Philly loves
it's athletes to play hard--have no pretensions--and to enjoy themselves a
bit--and he did all those and more.
Giles said he knows of no other athlete that was so loved --not just one but two
can top the closing of the Vet--there wasn't a dry eye for all two hours of the
festivities--but Tug at the end was the most emotional because it was evident
how sick he was--face all puffy from Cortisone--in ten years that will probably
be my strongest memory
perhaps you captured best the true nature of the Philadelphia fan, and why they
loved Tug so much. Play with passion, play hard, and play with a desire to give
your best all the time. Thank you
for the wonderful memories.
Patrone’s Memories of Tug.
used to write a comic strip called "Scroogie" which appeared in the Philadelphia
Daily News. It was about a wacky screwball pitcher whose manager with the team
was real gruff. I think the team was called the Pets. Anyway there are 2 strips
that I distinctly remember. 1. it was raining hard and the players didn't think
they were going to play, and all of a sudden the manager yells at the rain to
"STOP", and then I forget what the punch line was and 2. McGraw appeared in the
comic strip as himself and 1 player asked another player why he would want to do
that. All of a sudden McGraw comes up to bat and the frame says McGraw rips one
300, 400, 500 etc. and to see the ball fly into oblivion. He also had a van at
the time and all the comic strip characters were painted on the van. He used to
pop the bottoms out of cups and then put the cups up to his eyes like
binoculars, along with lots of other antics. What I'm saying is, we should
always maintain our sense of humor 'cause sometimes it's all we have left. The
Tugger did just that. If everyone approached life in the same way, the world
would be a much better place”.
I do remember that comic strip,
Dom, and the fact that a baseball player would take the time to write a comic
strip cartoon again demonstrates the humanity of the man. Although deeply
serious on the hill, he never took life so seriously that he couldn’t laugh at
himself! Thanks, my friend, for the
I have two favorite memories of Tug McGraw and interestingly
enough, they both took place in 1977. The first occurred on September 27, 1977…
the day the Phils clinched the National League East title.
The Phils were
playing the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field and leading 12-4 entering the bottom
of the 8th inning. Mcgraw relieved starter Larry Christenson with the
bases loaded, and by the time McGraw retired the side, 5 runs had crossed the
plate and the score stood 12-9.
Shortstop Larry Bowa, now the Phils
manager, was screaming at Mcgraw to get serious and not blow the game. He was
also screaming at his teammates to score more runs, which they did. McGraw
retired the Cubs in the bottom of the 9th inning and the Phils had a
division clinching 15-9 victory.
Shortly thereafter, McGraw made his
famous description about Bowa. Tugger said his greatest baseball memory was
“watching Larry Bowa play.” He then
said his worst baseball memory was “listening to Larry Bowa talk…
say, McGraw and Bowa were the best of friends and Bowa always laughed at this
oh, so honest recollection of how he was perceived by his teammate.
other vivid memory of Tug came on one of the saddest days I can recall as a
Phillie fan. It was the evening after Black Friday, the day the Phils lost a
pennant in 10 minutes.
For those too young to recall, the Phils were
leading the Dodgers 5-3 with but one strike to go, a strike they never got. Ten
minutes later the Dodgers had a 6-5 win, and the series momentum shifted
Though a beaten club by now, the Phils met the Dodgers on a
cold, rainy Saturday night, and the Dodgers led 4-1 entering the top of the
8th inning. Everyone had seemingly given up… except Tug. After retiring the Dodgers in order, he
began slapping his glove against his leg, yelling uncontrollably and extolling
his teammates to give it one more try.
I remember that I began to cry, as
if his emotional release became mine. At that moment, I honestly believed the
Phils would rally, and they nearly did!
They loaded the bases before Dodger hurler Tommy John got out of the
For one brief moment, for one tiny space of time, McGraw’s unbridled
enthusiasm had actually rekindled mine!
I was on that field with Tug, feeding off his emotion, even at this most
painful time. It was a moment I never forgot, and it has stayed with me even
They say that a person is not long remembered for how they died,
but for how they lived. Perhaps he
understood this as well as anyone possibly could.
Tug McGraw may have
died too young at 59, yet the lives he touched in that short time will live on
and on. Think not to how he died but to how he lived… oh, how he lived!
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