Tim McGraw took to social media this week to post a video wishing his late dad and former MLB player Tug McGraw a happy birthday. The elder McGraw passed away in 2004 at age 59 after he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor. In the video, McGraw calls his dad an “inspiration” and shares the story of how he didn’t know his dad personally until later in his life and he found out McGraw was his father after finding his birth certificate.
“People ask me all the time, ‘How could you have a relationship with your dad after what you went through and not knowing him and everything?’” says McGraw. “But watching him play baseball, it made me believe as a small town kid from Louisiana with not a lot going on in his life, it made think I could do something with my life and it made me think that I had something in me that came from him. He’s been gone for a while. He would have been 77 years old, so happy birthday Tugger.”
McGraw grew up in Star, Louisiana, and for a good part of his upbringing, believed his step-father Horace Smith was his father. McGraw discovered his birth certificate with Tug McGraw’s name on it when he was 11 years old, and after years of denying his parentage, his father eventually told McGraw the truth and the two formed a close friendship. Tug McGraw was a relief pitcher who played for the New York Mets from 1965 to 1974 and then for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1975 to 1984. The baseball legend is remembered for his classic slogan, “Ya Gotta Believe.”