Legacy - Tug McGraw's Story

A famous baseball player named Tug McGraw was a great pitcher in the Major Leagues. He won two World Series with the New York Mets and was one of the best closing pitchers in Philadelphia Phillies history. McGraw was a team cheerleader, he’s  the guy who coined the popular phrase of that day, "You Gotta Believe!"


He went on to be a game announcer on TV and might still be on television today if it hadn't been for a sudden change of health that came in 2003. By the time the illness was discovered, doctors told Tug McGraw, who was 59 years old, that he had three weeks to live. 


Three weeks. Well, he lived nine months. He spent that time investing in his family, into a legacy dedicated to curing the disease he was fighting and reconciling with a part of his past he'd tried to ignore. He had a wife and kids but he also had another son, born before he was married. He had ignored his son for years.


The mother of that boy didn't tell her son about his famous baseball father, in part because she wanted to move beyond her past as well. But one day, this young boy, Tim, found his birth certificate and made the most shocking discovery of his life.  His favorite baseball player, Tug McGraw, was also his father. Later the boy changed his name from Tim Trimble to Tim McGraw.


Tim McGraw found Tug when he was an older teen-ager but there was no warm feelings, no immediate connection, and at that time it seemed, no future to the relationship. Once more, as an adult, Tim tried to connect with his dad. This time, the connection took. Father and son, as strange as it must have seemed to them, became very close.  


Tim went on to become the famous American Country music singer, writer and actor. For those who don’t know who Tim McGraw is, he has appeared in movies like the Blind Side, Friday Night Lights and other films. Also, there’s these little statistics:


   10 of his albums reached number 1 on the charts, 

   25 songs have reached number 1, 

   Won 3 Grammy’s 

   His Soul2Soul tour is one of the Top 5 grossing tours among all genres of music.


When the news came that Tim’s dad’s time was running out, they became closer still. In the end, Tug McGraw even died at Tim McGraw's Nashville home.


In 2004 Tim McGraw's song, "Live Like You Were Dying," stayed on top of the charts for ten weeks, breaking a record that had stood for 30 years. It was named the top country song of the year by Billboard magazine. It was the story of a man who got the news that he was dying, a man who made a decision of how he would live with the time he had left.  In the song he wrote about skydiving and climbing mountains and other things he’s always wanted to do. But then he takes the thoughts deeper by writing:


And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter

And gave forgiveness I'd been denying


He said I was finally the husband - That most the time I wasn't

And I became a friend - a friend would like to have


…at the end of the chorus he sang

Some day I hope you get the chance

To live like you were dying


In a way, we are all running out of time. The opportunity to leave the legacy we want to leave, is one day shorter than it was yesterday. Maybe we should not, "live like we are dying" but we should live like we understand what life and legacy is all about.


What would you do if you knew your time was running out in the next three months? What is the legacy you hope to leave behind with your life?

Grant MuirheadComment