Tim McGraw honors late father, Mets pitcher Tug McGraw, during World Series

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Tim McGraw Pays Tribute to Late Mets Pitcher Dad Tug McGraw


It's a huge deal to throw out the first pitch in any major league baseball game, but to have that honor during the World Series? That's even bigger.

For Tim McGraw -- who threw the ceremonial pitch to former Met pitcher John Franco before Game 4 on Saturday at Citifield in Queens, New York -- the ritual held a prolific amount of meaning. His father, the late Tug McGraw, was a legendary relief pitcher for the New York Mets.


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Tug, whose real name was Frank Edwin McGraw, Jr., was a member of the 1969 championship team, but he may be best known for uttering the phrase, "Ya gotta believe," which has become a rally cry for the Flushing faithful. Now, the Amazins are in the middle of trying to bring home a third World Series title.

'69 @mets #WorldSeries. Thanx to my bro Mark.

A photo posted by Tim McGraw (@thetimmcgraw) on


ET caught up with the 48-year-old country singer before he took the mound on Saturday, and the significance of the weekend hadn't escaped him.

"This is cool. He would really enjoy this," Tim said of his father, who died in 2004 at the age of 59 from a brain tumor. "I've been texting my uncle back and forth since I've arrived -- he played for the Mets for a while in the minor league system... My dad debuted in '65 at Wrigley Field with the Mets in Chicago. It's a pretty historical event for all of us."


Tim holds more than just memories of his father's baseball career -- he also has a very special hand-me-down from Tug's championship run.

"I have a '69 Mercedes that my dad bought with his bonus check that he got from the '69 Mets, and I still have that," Tim told ET. "My little brother Mark had it. We fixed it up, and now i'm driving it."

Tim shared a photo of himself sitting in the classic car on Friday. "Honored to represent the @mets / McGraw legacy throwin out the first pitch game 4 tomorrow night," he captioned the Instagram snap.


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As for taking the mound and honoring his dad's legacy, the "Highway Don't Care" singer prepped by playing catch with his wife, country singer Faith Hill, on Friday. If you ask Faith if Tim has his father's arm, she'll most likely give you a definitive ... maybe.

"She said I did alright. She said I still got a little bit of arm left," Tim said. "Just don't embarrass me, is the main thing."

PHOTOS: McGraw and Hill through the years

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Tim McGraw honors late father, Mets pitcher Tug McGraw, during World Series
Faith Hill & Tim McGraw during Andre Agassi Grand Slam For Children 1996 in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 27: Singer Faith Hill and singer Tim McGraw attend the 24th Annual American Music Awards on January 27, 1997 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
321067 04: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, CA, January 26, 1998. (Photo by Russell Einhorn / Liaison Agency)
Tim McGraw And Faith Hill during 33rd Annual Country Music Awards Artists Reception at Country Star Restaurant in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - APRIL 22: Singer Tim McGraw and singer Faith Hill attend the 33rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 22, 1998 at Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - MAY 5: Singer Tim McGraw and singer Faith Hill attends the 34th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on May 5, 1999 at Uniersal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Faith Hill And Tim McGraw (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: Tim McGraw and wife Faith Hill arrive for the premiere of the movie 'Almost Famous' at the Chelsea West theater. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw backstage at the 28th Annual American Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles Monday, Jan. 8, 2001. Photo by Kevin Winter/ABC/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 8: Singer Faith Hill and singer Tim McGraw attend the 28th Annual American Music Awards on January 8, 2001 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 7: Singer Tim McGraw and singer Faith Hill attend the 27th Annual People's Choice Awards on January 7, 2001 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 21: Singer Faith Hill and singer Tim McGraw attend the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards on February 21, 2001 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Faith Hill & Tim McGraw at the 37th Academy of Country Music Awards Show. at the Universal Amphitheater in Universal City, California (Photo by Trench Shore/WireImage)
Tim McGraw with Faith Hill, winner of award for Favorite Female Musical Performer (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw during 31st Annual American Music Awards - Arrivals at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw during 2004 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Mortons in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Singers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw perform on stage during the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundations 9th Annual 'Grand Slam for Children' concert benefit at the MGM Grand Hotel October 2, 2004 in Las Vegas, Neveda. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw during The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation's 9th Annual 'Grand Slam for Children' Fundraiser - Press Conference at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 6: Singer Faith Hill (L) and husband actor/singer Tim McGraw celebrate their 8th wedding anniversary with a cake at the after party for the premiere of Universal's 'Friday Night Lights' at the Highlands on October 6, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
(EXCLUSIVE, Premium Rates Apply) Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (Photo by R. Diamond/WireImage for The Recording Academy (View ONLY))
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill during 40th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards - Orange Carpet at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. (Photo by Todd Williamson/FilmMagic)
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw perform 'Like We Never Loved At All' at the Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York (Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage)
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw during Earth to America! - After Party at PURE Night Club - Arrivals at PURE Night Club - Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. (Photo by Bruce Gifford/FilmMagic)
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill during Samsung's Fifth Annual Four Seasons of Hope - Inside at Tavern on the Green in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage for Samsung)
New York, UNITED STATES: Tim McGraw and Faith Hill peform during the 3rd Annual 'Fashion Rocks' concert at Radio City Music Hall 07 September 2006 in New York. The star-studded fashion and music spectacular kicks off Fashion Week, and proceeds from the show will benefit the Elton John AIDS foundation. AFP PHOTO Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw during Tim McGraw Honored With A Recording Star On The Hollywood Walk of Fame at Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage for Chasen & Company)
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
SUNRISE, FL - JULY 24: Tim McGraw and Faith Hill perform live at The Bank Atlantic Center on July 24, 2007 in Sunrise FL. (Photo by Larry Marano/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 14: Musicians Tim McGraw and Faith Hill attend the 2008 CMT Music Awards at the Curb Events Center at Belmont University on April 14, 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS - APRIL 06: ***EXCLUSIVE*** Performers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill speak onstage during the 44th annual Academy Of Country Music Awards' Artist of the Decade held at the MGM Grand on April 6, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/ACM2009/Getty Images for ACM)
THE 43rd ANNUAL CMA AWARDS - RED CARPET ARRIVALS - 'The 43rd Annual CMA Awards' will be broadcast live from the Sommet Center in Nashville, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images) TIM MCGRAW, FAITH HILL
Singer Faith Hill (L) and singer/actor Tim McGraw attend the 82nd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theater on March 7, 2010 in Hollywood, California.
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 22: (L-R) Musicians Tim McGraw and Faith Hill onstage at Nashville Rising, a benefit concert for flood relief at Bridgestone Arena on June 22, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ed Rode/Nashville Rising/Getty Images for Nashville Rising)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 09: Recording artist Tim McGraw and wife recording artist Faith Hill arrive at the 45th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 9, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 07: Singers Faith Hill (L) and Tim McGraw appear at a news conference announcing their upcoming 'Soul2Soul' perfomances at The Venetian on August 7, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 08: Singer Faith Hill (R) and singer/songwriter Tim McGraw perform during the opening weekend of their limited-engagement 'Soul2Soul' show at The Venetian on December 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The country music couple is scheduled to perform on 10 weekends through April 2013 at Venetian Hotel and Casino Resort on December 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Musicians Faith Hill and Tim McGraw perform onstage at MusiCares Person Of The Year Honoring Bruce Springsteen at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 07: Singers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw arrive at the 48th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 7, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 03: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw attend CMT Artists Of The Year 2013 at Music City Center on December 3, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 05: Tim McGraw performs a duet with wife Faith Hill at LP Field at the 2014 CMA Festival on June 5, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon IV/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Singers Faith Hill (L) and Tim McGraw attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 09: Singers/musicians Faith Hill (L) and Tim McGraw attend Disney's 'Tomorrowland' - Los Angeles Premiere at AMC Downtown Disney 12 Theater on May 9, 2015 in Anaheim, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
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One relative who certainly doesn't embarrass Tim is his daughter, Gracie. The 18-year-old is following in a different family tradition: Music. She is featured on the song "Here Tonight," off Tim's new album, Damn Country Music. The proud dad told ET that "she did a great job."

"Just to have her sing with me [is special]," Tim said. "She's a great artist in her own right. She's a great singer, away at college for her first year, so to be able to record that, [which] was so many efforts, was something special."

#TBT with Gracie @beacontheatre in NYC!

A photo posted by Tim McGraw (@thetimmcgraw) on


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Tim is not only proud to share a piece of the spotlight with Gracie but also with his entire 14th studio album.

"I always think this and I always say this, but it's the best material that I've every recorded," Tim said of Damn Country Music, which drops Nov. 6. "It's the best collection of songs that I've every recorded. Sonically, I'm really proud of it, but there are some songs in there are sort of retrospective a little of my career. Some stuff that is clearly modern, stuff that I've evolved into through country music and what's happening out there, but there are also some things that are reflective, things that are more of a storytelling kind of song."

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