Batter up! Tim McGraw paid tribute to his late father, Mets pitcher Tug McGraw, at Game 4 of the World Series in NYC on Saturday, Oct. 31. The country singer threw the first pitch before the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals took the field.
McGraw also honored his father by wearing his No. 45 jersey and using the hashtag “Ya Gotta Believe.” The late athlete used the phrase often to rile up his teammates.
“What an honor! @mets @mlb #WorldSeries #YaGottaBelieve,” McGraw, 48, captioned an Instagram pic. In a second snapshot, Faith Hill’s hunky husband showed off his father’s 1969 World Series ring. “69 @mets #WorldSeries,” he wrote. “Thanx to my bro Mark.”
One day earlier, the “Highway Don’t Care” singer also shared his support by wearing a Mets baseball cap. “Honored to represent the @mets / McGraw legacy throwin out the first pitch game 4 tomorrow night,” he wrote. “#Worldseries @mlb #YaGottaBelieve.” (The Royals won the World Series by beating the Mets in games 1, 2, 4, and 5.)
McGraw has been honest about his relationship with his father in recent years. Back in 2013, he revealed that the two weren’t close while he was growing up. In fact, he didn’t know that the baseball player was his biological father until he was 11 years old.
“I didn’t know he was my dad. I was 11 years old and was rummaging around in my mom’s closet and found a birth certificate. My last name was Smith,” McGraw told Larry King in May 2013. “On my birth certificate, McGraw was scratched out and Smith was written in by hand.”
The pair didn’t strike up a strong bond until the entertainer was 18. Before that, the MLB All-Star was always on the road while the rest of the family lived a less-than-glamorous lifestyle in Louisiana. (Tug died at the age of 59 in January 2004, nine months after undergoing surgery for a brain tumor.)
“I remember watching the World Series games and being 13 years old and sort of lucky that we could pay the light bill to have the TV on to watch the World Series game. It was a little strange dichotomy there,” McGraw told the web series Quantum Heroes in August 2013. “He gave me something that he might not have ever known that he gave me. He gave me reason to think that I could make something out of my life because he did.”
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