Tim McGraw on his father, Tug


In a recent appearance on NPR, Tim McGraw discussed his relationship with his father, Tug McGraw, the late New York Mets pitcher.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

How did you learn that he was your dad?

Tim McGraw: I was going through a closet … I found a box with my birth certificate was in the box and everything was printed out except for the last name, but it had my dad’s full name. He said his occupation was professional baseball player … it was pretty much a shock when you find something like that.

What was it like when you met for the first time?

Tim McGraw: It was unusual for sure. I called my mom and I asked her what this was all about. You could just feel an audible gasp and she said, I’ll be right home. When she got home she said, let’s go for a ride. We got in the car and drove around and she told me the whole story.

Tim McGraw: On the day I was born, my grandmother called and got him in the Mets dugout just to tell him I was born. And that was it … When I found the birth certificate, I just told mom that I wanted to meet him. She had got in touch with his lawyer … and we drove to Houston. He left us a couple tickets … I remember tossing a ball with him a little bit.

You did connect later when you were 18, right?

Tim McGraw: I remember walking into the lobby of the hotel and, um, was the same height as him at that point. And my mom pointed and said, there he is right there. I just walked right over and tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around and. Uh, the first thing that I noticed more than anything was his lawyer’s jaw hit the ground because we looked almost exactly alike.

So we talked, spent the day together, had dinner that night and I asked mom, and she would mind letting Tug and I talk for a minute, a moment alone. So she got up and left and I just looked at him in the eyes. I just want you to answer one question. Do you think you’re my dad? And he said, I know I am. And that’s it. That was all I needed to know.

Did you feel that you had the relationship that you wanted before he died?

Tim McGraw: I wouldn’t say that we had a father-son relationship. If we did, it was more me being the father and he was the son. We were good friends. His older brother, my Uncle Hank, we’re close to this day. When he (Tug) was dying I spent a lot of time with him (Hank).

He wanted to come to a cabin on our farm and that’s where he wanted to spend his last days. So we got to hang out and spend a lot of time with him. I think the biggest, if you can call it regret, is the time that we got to spend together as he was dying. I sort of waited for him to say something about the whole situation … and when we never had that conversation. I’ll always sort of feel like I missed that part of it.

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