Jan 5, 2010, 9:00 AM EDT
It's one of the most famous and indelible images in Philly Sports history. Tug McGraw rejoicing on the mound after striking out Willie Wilson with a 1-2 fastball to clinch the deciding Game Six of the 1980 World Series. Tug was an integral part of that '80 championship season, finishing with a 5-4 record, a 1.46 ERA and 20 saves, good for fifth place in the year's Cy Young voting. He pitched ten seasons in Philadelphia in all, finishing his tenure with 94 saves and a 3.10 ERA.
Tug was a beloved member of the Phillies family, and a much-appreciated figure nationwide for his weird media comments and general irreverence (once noting that he "never smoked AstroTurf" when asked for his preference between the artificial product and real grass). In 2003, however, Tug was given weeks to live after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. He held on for many months–long enough to attend the closing ceremonies at Veterans' Stadium–before eventually succumbing on January 5th, 2004.
Tug's legacy lives on through his accomplishments with the Phillies in that historic season, and also for his charitable work–The Tug McGraw Foundation was founded in 2003, to help out children and adults with brain tumors. In the 2008 World Series, country star Tim McGraw came out to dust some of Dad's ashes on the Citizens Bank Park mound before game three–a moment that was confusing to us who had never made the connection between the two of them before, but one that was fairly touching nonetheless.
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