April means one thing: the return of major league baseball. Fans everywhere are celebrating opening day, and that includes country superstar Tim McGraw. On Tuesday, he tweeted a photo of his dad, long-time pitcher Tug McGraw.
‘Ya Gotta Believe’
Born in Martinez, Calif., in 1944, Frank “Tug” McGraw pitched in the major leagues from 1965 to 1984. After spending his first ten years with the New York Mets, he spent the last ten with the Philadelphia Phillies. During his career, primarily as a relief pitcher, he made the All-Star team twice and won World Series titles in 1969 and 1980.
McGraw was also famous for his 1973 chant “Ya gotta believe.” Early that season, despite McGraw playing well, the New York Mets were in last place. At the end of August, however, the team began an improbable winning streak to take the division and play in the postseason. The Mets made it to the World Series but lost in seven games to the Oakland Athletics.
His son Tim was reportedly the result of a single encounter with Betty D’Agostino in 1966. Upon learning she was pregnant, D’Agostino broke off contact, and McGraw didn’t recognize Tim McGraw as his son until he was 17. The elder McGraw died from a recurring glioblastoma brain tumor in 2004.
Tim McGraw, Another Star in the Making
Born in 1967, Tim McGraw grew up in Start, La., believing he was the son of truck driver Horace Smith. Before Smith and McGraw’s mother divorced, he instilled a love of country music in the young boy. When he was 11, McGraw found his birth certificate in his mother’s closet. A marked-out section mentioned a baseball-playing father. He called his mother, who revealed that Tug, now a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, was actually his father.
Betty called Tug McGraw, who was incredulous at her news of a son from years earlier. He agreed to meet with Tim, but for several years did not admit that he was his son. (At this point, McGraw had two children with his first wife.) When it was time for Tim McGraw to go to college, his mother wanted Tug to pay for it. At first, he insisted on a paternity test. When Tug saw his now nearly grown son walk toward him, he knew there was no doubt he was his father.
Tim McGraw released his first, self-titled album in 1993 to little fanfare. His second album, “Not a Moment Too Soon,” was the best-selling country album of 1994. And the hits have kept coming ever since then.
McGraw also developed an acting career. He was part of the ensemble cast of the hit television show “Friday Night Lights” and had roles in movies including “Flicka” and “The Blind Side.”
Baseball is known as America’s pastime because it brings families together, especially fathers and sons. Tug and Tim McGraw didn’t have the standard father-son relationship when Tim was growing up, but their love of baseball always connected them.