McGraw didn’t learn who his father was until 11
McGraw didn’t exactly know all the branches of his family tree until age 11. It was at that time, when McGraw looked at his birth certificate, that he learned baseball star Tug McGraw was his birth father. To add irony to the situation, McGraw was a major fan of Tug’s and even kept his card on his bedroom wall.
“Once I found out it certainly made me dial into baseball even more,” the country music star told Rolling Stone. He even recalls watching his father play in the 1980 World Series. But it was when he finally met Tug that he came to understand just how much of a star he was. “The first time I ever came to New York I rode up in a limo with Tug from Philadelphia,” McGraw recalls of that childhood memory. “And we rode up with Rusty Staub (Tug’s Met’s teammate) and had dinner at Rusty’s restaurant and everybody was coming over asking for autographs and pictures with he and Rusty. I thought, ‘Wow this is a whole different world!'”
Over the years, the pair got to know each other pretty well and kept in close contact until Tug’s death in 2004 at age 59. “We talked a lot about baseball once I got to know him,” McGraw added. “We called it ‘choir practice’ when we got together; we’d hang around at night with a few Jameson’s and talk about baseball.”