This is in response to those New Yorkers claiming Tug McGraw as their own.
A little history: the Mets unloaded Tugger after the
1974 season (just one year after the “Ya Gotta Believe!” season) because
they thought he was washed up. Turned out his
trouble was a benign growth in his shoulder. Once that was fixed via
surgery, he pitched a full 10 seasons for the Phils.
To us in Philly, Tug was, is and always will be a red-pinstriped god, the
one who delivered the final strikeout that sealed our
only World Series victory in 120 seasons.
He was always beloved here in our city, and he returned the love in spades.
Every Philadelphian knows the photo of him from the victory parade in 1980
shows him holding up a copy of the Philadelphia Daily News with “WE WIN!” in
giant letters. It was here that he became a TV sports reporter (WPVI) for 8
years. When he was stricken last year, it was at the Phillies’ spring
training, where he was a special instructor. And the most goose-bump
inducing moment at the closing ceremony of Veterans Stadium in September was
Tug’s recreation of his strikeout of Willie Wilson. The crowd, knowing that
Tug was battling one of the worst forms of cancer, let out a cheer that is
still echoing in space today. If love was medicine, Tugger would have been
fully cured that day.
But perhaps the best illustration of the difference between Philly’s love
for Tug and New York’s is to contrast the two cities’
tabloids for today. Tug is on the front cover of the Phila Daily News,
while Britney Spears appears on the New York Post’s.
And the back page? Stephon Marbury on the Post, with Tug’s passing
relegated to a teaser headline at the top of the page.
I rest my case!