Greg Prince over at Faith and Fear in Flushing posts today an interview with Sharon Chapman, a fellow Mets fan who will be running the New York City Marathon to raise money for the Tug McGraw Foundation.
Tug’s last year in royal blue pinstripes came a year before I was born, so I never saw him pitch for the home team. Heck, I probably never saw him pitch at all, since he retired when I was only just figuring the whole baseball thing out. (Hey, I do distinctly remember seeing Hubie Brooks and Joel Youngblood at Shea, so there was clearly some baseball consciousness there at that tender young age.)
In any case, while I never saw Tug pitch, I obviously carry with me a small part of his legacy, as does every Mets fan. Heck, if he didn’t give birth to the club’s identity, he certainly named it, uttering the rallying cry we all inherited from our parents, uncles, etc. when we fell in love with the team as kids. “Ya Gotta Believe!” Think about that. Of all the people who have put on the Mets uniform (or, I guess, worn a mets polo shirt in the front office) over all these years, he’s the one who came up with the brand. I mean, I guess it has a much nicer ring to it than “Ya Gotta Have Certain Skill Sets” or “Ya Gotta Lose and Lose To Make The Champagne Taste That Much Sweeter,” but still, he’s the guy that said it. And everything I know about him says that it would probably be his jersey I’d be dropping my hard earned cash on if I were around back in the salad days of 1973.
Tug died of brain cancer in January 2004, and the foundation that bears his name raises funds for research toward treatment and cure of brain cancers and traumatic brain injuries. I’d say that’s a worthy cause.
As with many things these days, the Phillies seem to be doing a better job of supporting Tug’s foundation than the Mets. But it doesn’t have to be that way for us, the fans. Please go here to support Sharon and Team McGraw.