Tug McGraw… was a relief pitcher for the Mets and Phillies, and a fan favorite wherever he went. If you had to pick two things he’s best known for, I’d go with his rallying cry of “Ya Gotta Believe!” with the 1973 NL Champion Mets, and for striking out Willie Wilson to win the 1980 World Series for the Phillies.
In 1976, Tug McGraw… was one third of what would today be called a “Bullpen by committee”. He may not have been THE closer, but he was certainly A closer. He also had a rough postseason as the Phillies got swept by the Reds in the NLCS; Tug pitched in two games and gave up 3 runs and 4 hits in 2.1 innings.
I’ll tell you, looking at the Phillies’ reliever stats from 1976 really underlines how the game has changed in the last 30-40 years. The 1976 Phillies had three pitchers with 10-or-more saves: Ron Reed (14), Tug McGraw (11) and Gene Garber (11). Even though Reed had the most saves, McGraw & Garber finished more games than he did. Not only that, but Ron Reed actually started 4 games that year.
This card is… the first 1976 SSPC Phillies card I’m sharing on this blog; I didn’t get any Phillies in my original SSPC haul, and I now own two Phillies that I got on Black Friday.
Shea-o-meter: You can’t see much of the background, but one can see enough to know it’s Shea.
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 6
Can’t tell: 6
Not Shea: 5
Sad To Say… Today is the 10th anniversary of Tug losing his battle against brain cancer; he passed away on January 5th, 2004.