Tim McGraw throws out first pitch

Tim McGraw throws out first pitch

PHILADELPHIA -- Tim McGraw had the reenactment down perfectly -- until he threw the pitch.

The country music singer threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Phillies-Mets game on Thursday in memory of his late father, former big-league pitcher Tug McGraw.

Tim McGraw came in from right field sporting the No. 45 uniform like his father had done 247 times at Veterans Stadium with the Phillies. He then delivered the first pitch just a little wide to Phils catcher Chris Coste.

Phillies players wore bracelets with the number 45 and the initials YGB for "Ya gotta believe." The bracelets, stitched with baseball seams, will be sold to benefit the foundation.

Brett Myers and his wife, Kim, on behalf of Phillies Charities, presented McGraw with a check for $37,374 to benefit the Tug McGraw Foundation. The foundation supports patients who have been diagnosed with brain cancer so that they can improve their quality of life.

Tug McGraw was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2003 and died in January 2004 at 59. Thursday's moment had added meaning because McGraw had played for just two teams in his 20-year Major League career: the Mets and Phillies.

Although he didn't pitch in the 1969 World Series, he did win a title with the Miracle Mets. Eleven years later, he would provide Philadelphians with one of the most lasting memories in their city's sports history.

McGraw struck out Kansas City's Willie Wilson for the final out of the 1980 World Series, which gave the Phillies their first and only championship.

His son will continue to raise money for the foundation through a Texas Hold'em poker tournament in November. Guests will have a chance to compete for prizes at an event that honors people who have helped improve the lives of brain tumor patients.

A very appropriate way to honor a man who coined the expression, "Ya gotta believe."

Zachary Levine is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.