"You Gotta Believe" the rallying cry for the New York Mets' miracle pennant drive in 1973, was coined by flaky lefthanded reliever Tug McGraw. Sixteen times in the last month of the season, he would charge off the mound slapping his glove on his right thigh, screaming at no one in particular while racking up 11 saves and four victories.
Though McGraw, a bullpen pitcher for the Mets for nine seasons (1965-1974) and the Phillies for ten (1975-1984), was one of the main reasons the Mets were able to capture the NL pennant, he was also one of the reasons they had to catch up. For the first half of the summer he was going through a horrible slump, blowing leads and getting pounded. The Mets, the only team to finish over .500 for the season in the NL East, began their climb from last place, 12-1/2 games out. The Mets reached first place to stay on September 21. McGraw finished the season with 25 saves.
McGraw's best year was 1972, when he posted an 11-4 record with 27 saves and a 1.70 ERA. He got the W in the 1972 All-Star Game, giving up only one hit and striking out four in working the final two innings.
His defining career moment as a Phillie came in the 1980 World Series. In the fifth game, McGraw struck out the Royals' Amos Otis with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to preserve a 4-3 victory. In the sixth and final game, in Philadelphia, McGraw squeezed out of bases-loaded jams in the final two innings and got the save to give the Phillies their first (and only) World Championship.
McGraw was given the nickname Tug by his mother, because he used to tug when she breast-fed him.
Tug McGraw's son is country music superstar Tim McGraw, and his daughter-in-law is Faith Hill.
Career Pitching Statistics (1965-1984)