Tim McGraw Honors Late Father, Mets Pitcher Tug McGraw, During World Series
By Emily Krauser
It’s a huge deal to throw out the first pitch in any major league baseball game, but to have that honor during the World Series? That’s even bigger.
For Tim McGraw -- who threw the ceremonial pitch to former Met pitcher John Franco before Game 4 on Saturday at Citifield in Queens, New York -- the ritual held a prolific amount of meaning. His father, the late Tug McGraw, was a legendary relief pitcher for the New York Mets.
Tug, whose real name was Frank Edwin McGraw, Jr., was a member of the 1969 championship team, but he may be best known for uttering the phrase, “Ya gotta believe,” which has become a rally cry for the Flushing faithful. Now, the Amazins are in the middle of trying to bring home a third World Series title.
ET caught up with the 48-year-old country singer before he took the mound on Saturday, and the significance of the weekend hadn’t escaped him.
“This is cool. He would really enjoy this,” Tim said of his father, who died in 2004 at the age of 59 from a brain tumor. “I’ve been texting my uncle back and forth since I've arrived -- he played for the Mets for a while in the minor league system… My dad debuted in '65 at Wrigley Field with the Mets in Chicago. It's a pretty historical event for all of us.”
Tim holds more than just memories of his father’s baseball career -- he also has a very special hand-me-down from Tug’s championship run.
“I have a '69 Mercedes that my dad bought with his bonus check that he got from the '69 Mets, and I still have that,” Tim told ET. “My little brother Mark had it. We fixed it up, and now i'm driving it.”
Tim shared a photo of himself sitting in the classic car on Friday. “Honored to represent the @mets / McGraw legacy throwin out the first pitch game 4 tomorrow night,” he captioned the Instagram snap.
As for taking the mound and honoring his dad's legacy, the “Highway Don’t Care” singer prepped by playing catch with his wife, country singer Faith Hill, on Friday. If you ask Faith if Tim has his father’s arm, she’ll most likely give you a definitive … maybe.
“She said I did alright. She said I still got a little bit of arm left,” Tim said. “Just don't embarrass me, is the main thing.”
One relative who certainly doesn’t embarrass Tim is his daughter, Gracie. The 18-year-old is following in a different family tradition: Music. She is featured on the song “Here Tonight,” off Tim’s new album, Damn Country Music. The proud dad told ET that “she did a great job.”
“Just to have her sing with me [is special],” Tim said. “She’s a great artist in her own right. She's a great singer, away at college for her first year, so to be able to record that, [which] was so many efforts, was something special.”
Tim is not only proud to share a piece of the spotlight with Gracie but also with his entire 14th studio album.
“I always think this and I always say this, but it’s the best material that I've every recorded,” Tim said of Damn Country Music, which drops Nov. 6. “It’s the best collection of songs that I've every recorded. Sonically, I'm really proud of it, but there are some songs in there are sort of retrospective a little of my career. Some stuff that is clearly modern, stuff that I've evolved into through country music and what's happening out there, but there are also some things that are reflective, things that are more of a storytelling kind of song.”