October 26, 2008
Whether they knew it or not, the Phillies had the advantage of playing with 10 men on the field during Saturday's Game 3 World Series win over the Rays.
Luckily for The Fightins', the extra man knew a little something about winning baseball games in October.
In a Field-of-Dreams type story sure to give goosebumps, country singer Tim McGraw covertly spread some of his father Tug's ashes on the Citizens Bank Park pitching mound before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
Tug, of course, was a famous reliever for the Phillies and recorded the final out of the 1980 World Series, which remains the only championship won in the team's 126-year history. He died of brain cancer in 2004.
Though Tim didn't discover Tug was his father until he was 11 or reconcile with him until a few years after that, the two eventually grew close. Tim's hit song "Live Like You Were Dying" is a tribute to his father and was recorded in 2004 during Tug's fight with the disease.
Heading into this World Series, many Phillies fans have pointed out some coincidences to the '80 squad and taken the signs to mean Philadelphia is due for its first sports title in 25 years. For instance, '08 is the opposite of '80 and Tug McGraw's No. 45 is the opposite of the No. 54 worn by current closer Brad Lidge.
But now, thanks to Tim McGraw the team has something a little more tangible to help its push to win the next two games in Philadelphia and bring home the Commissioner's Trophy. No doubt Tug will be doing his best to help starting with tonight's Game 4.