Full of enthusiasm for the game he loved, Tug McGraw left an indelible mark on baseball and his fans.
He touched the lives of thousands of adults and children as a player and after his retirement. He worked tirelessly throughout his career on behalf of many community and charitable organizations.
Following his diagnosis of brain cancer in 2003, Tug began a 10-month medical journey down an unknown path. It would twist and turn as his health changed.
It was a journey that Tug never took alone. He found support in good friends, excellent medical care and a strong family that stood beside him. Tug felt lucky to have that support and he knew that he had the benefits of financial and professional resources not available to many others facing the challenge of brain cancer.
His experience made him aware that illness - and treatment - affecting the brain result in changes to a person's quality of life. Tug wanted to improve options and care for those facing brain tumors and their caregivers. In 2003, he established the Tug McGraw Foundation (TMF) to inspire and drive research that would build greater understanding.
Recognizing that other areas of brain research - such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - inform the science surrounding brain cancer, TMF widened its scope to include a broader spectrum of the neurosciences in 2009.
"The Tugger" will forever be missed by family, friends and fans. However, his words which once propelled the 1973 New York Mets to a National League Pennant, "Ya Gotta Believe," continue to give meaning and hope to those affected by brain-related trauma and tumors.
Mermorable Tug Quotes
"I have no trouble with the twelve inches between my elbow and my palm. It's the seven inches between my ears that's bent."
"Kids should practice autographing baseballs. This is a skill that's often overlooked in Little League."
"Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women and Irish Whiskey. The other ten percent I'll probably waste."
"Ten million years from now, when then sun burns out and the Earth is just a frozen iceball hurdling through space, nobody's going to care whether or not I got this guy out."
"They say that was the slowest fastball (Game 6 of the 1980 World Series thrown to Willie Wilson) ever thrown in Philadelphia. It took ninety-seven years to get there. Those memories are strong, still fresh and still a lot of fun to share with people who care about the Phillies." (2002 Spring Training Camp)
"Ya Gotta Believe!" (1973 regular season rally cry)