Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Sunday, October 3, 2010

1976 Topps #565 - Tug McGraw


  • Frank Edwin "Tug" McGraw had a long and storied career in major league baseball. McGraw was signed by the New York Mets in 1964. Tug pitched in the minors in 1964 and then made the Mets ballclub in 1965. Tug was 2-7 with one save and a 3.32 ERA in 37 games (nine starts) in 1965.
  • Over the next three seasons McGraw bounced between the minors and the Mets. Tug pitched in 15 games (12 starts) in 1966 (2-9, 5.34 ERA). He was in the minors for most of the 1967 season -- Tug started four games for the  Mets (0-3, 7.79 ERA). McGraw was in the minors for the entire 1968 season.
  • During this time period McGraw was also a reserve rifleman and marksman in the US Marine Corps.
  • In 1969 Tug came back to the majors to stay. The Mets had a good starting rotation, so McGraw was used mostly as a reliever and spot starter. Tug found his niche as a relief pitcher and had a successful season (9-3, 12 saves, 2.24 ERA in 42 games). McGraw pitched three scoreless innings in game two of the 1969 NLCS. Tug wasn't used in the 1969 World Series.
  • McGraw made only a total of ten starts from 1970 until the end of his career in 1984. Tug had good years in 1970 (4-6, 10 saves, 3.28 ERA), 1971 (11-4, 8 saves, 1.70 ERA), and 1972 (8-6, 27 saves, 1.70 ERA). McGraw was selected to the 1972 NL All Star team. He pitched the last two innings of the game and earned the win.
  • Tug and the Mets were struggling in 1973. The Mets had fallen to last place in the NL East on August 30. McGraw earned the win in an extra-innings victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on August 31 to pull the club out of the cellar. The Mets went on to go 20-8 in September and win the NL East. Tug was a big part of that resurgence, going 3-0 with ten saves and a 0.57 ERA. "Ya Gotta Believe!," a saying coined by Tug, became the rallying cry for the Mets as they won the NL East and the NL pennant. McGraw pitched in two games in the 1973 NLCS without allowing a run and then was 1-0 with a save in the World Series. Tug McGraw Key to the Mets' Rise - January 1974 Baseball Digest.
  • McGraw struggled during the 1974 season. He developed shoulder trouble that was later diagnosed as a cyst that was easily removed. Tug went 6-11 with three saves and had a 4.16 ERA in 1974. After the 1974 season the Mets traded McGraw to the Philadelphia Phillies in a multi-player deal that brought John Stearns to the Mets.
  • Tug came back in 1975 to have an all-star season with the Phillies (he didn't pitch in the game). McGraw went 9-6 with 14 saves and a 2.98 ERA in '75.
  • In the next three seasons Tug was part of a strong Philadelphia bullpen. In 1976 McGraw was 7-6 with 11 saves and a 2.50 ERA. McGraw pitched in two games in the NLCS but got roughed up (3 runs in 2.1 innings) by the Cincinnati Reds. Tug was 7-3 with nine saves and a 2.62 ERA in 1977. He pitched in two games in the 1977 NLCS without allowing a run and earned the save in game 1. In 1978 Tug was 8-7 with nine saves and had a 3.21 ERA. Tug pitched in three games in the NLCS and had a 1.59 ERA. He took the loss in the bottom of the 10th inning in game 4 on an unearned run.
  • The Phillies had a tough year in 1979 and so did McGraw. Tug went 4-3 with 16 saves and had a 5.16 ERA in 1979.
  • The Phillies finally broke through and won it all in 1980. McGraw had a great year in 1980 (5-4, 20 saves, 1.46 ERA) and was fifth in NL Cy Young Award voting. Tug pitched in all five games of the classic 1980 NLCS and was 0-1 with two saves. Tug blew the save in game 5 but the Phillies won the game in extra innings. McGraw pitched in four games in the 1980 World Series and was 1-1 with two saves. Tug was on the mound and struck out Willie Wilson to clinch the series in game 6 (shown in the youtube video below). After the 1980 season the Phillies rewarded McGraw with a four-year $1.5 million contract. Tug also won the Babe Ruth Award in 1980.
  • Tug went 2-4 with 10 saves and had a 2.66 ERA in 1981. He pitched in two games in the NLDS and earned the win in game 4.
  • McGraw became more of a set up man in the last three years of his career. In 1982 Tug was 3-3 with five saves and had a 4.31 ERA. McGraw was 2-1 with a 3.56 ERA in 1983 and wasn't used by the Phillies in the NLDS or the World Series. Tug pitched in 25 games in 1984 and went 2-0 with a 3.79 ERA. McGraw retired after the 1984 season. Tug McGraw: He Was Special as a Reliever and a Showman - June 1985 Baseball Digest
  • While working as a spring training instructor in 2003 Tug was hospitalized and diagnosed with a brain tumor. Surgery was performed and the tumor was found to be malignant. Tug was given three weeks to live but survived for nine months. McGraw passed away on January 5, 2004.
  • Tug is the father of country music star Tim McGraw. Tug said that the mother had left town after the short relationship in 1966 and he didn't acknowledge Tim as his son until Tim was 17 years old. The two went on to have a close relationship.
  • Here is a tribute to Tug on mlb.com.
  • Liked to face: Enzo Hernandez (.000 in 13 AB); Tony Scott (.045 in 22 AB); Ron Santo (.071 in 28 AB)
  • Hated to face: Mike Easler (.600 in 10 AB);  Mike Ivie (.571 in 14 AB); Ernie Banks (.474 in 19 AB)

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Tug McGraw on The Baseball Bunch


A 1982 commercial for 7-Up


The final out of the 1980 World Series

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