It’s St. Patrick’s Day today, which was an annual favorite of the great Met — and Phillie — relief pitcher Tug McGraw. With a name like McGraw, perhaps it was inevitable.
“I made an effort to get back to Clearwater each spring even after I retired from the Phillies,” McGraw said in his memoir Ya Gotta Believe! (written with Don Yaeger), “because the people there, like me, love to celebrate St. Patty’s Day.” There would be a Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association old timers game, a party to benefit the Children’s Hospital in nearby St. Pete and, not surprisingly, beer.
Tug planned to make it to the March 17 celebration in 2003, but he encountered an unwanted detour. On March 12, he first experienced the symptoms that turned out to be the brain tumor he’d fight for the next ten months before dying in January 2004. Seven years later, work to make lives better for those enduring similar ordeals go on in his name at the Tug McGraw Foundation.
Faith and Fear reader Sharon Chapman has devoted herself to raising funds for the Foundation while training to run in the New York City Marathon with Team McGraw. She gives her feet a chance to test the Manhattan pavement this Sunday by participating in the New York City Half Marathon. When she crosses the finish line downtown, she will be wearing her Faith and Fear in Flushing wristband in a nod to the community of Mets fans who are supporting her and Tug’s cause.
We are delighted to be playing a small part in Sharon’s quest on Tug’s behalf, and this Tuesday, we will be dedicating our first AMAZIN’ TUESDAY of 2010 to pitching in. Come to Two Boots Tavern on the Lower East Side, 7 PM, for our recurring reading and rally series and buy a signed copy of the newly released paperback edition of Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets — featuring an epilogue that covers the first season at Citi Field — for $10; all proceeds will be directed, via Sharon, to the Tug McGraw Foundation.
Jon Springer of Mets By The Numbers and I are also happy to welcome our special guests, Edward Hoyt, who wrote with depth and feeling about the 1969 Mets in The Miracle Has Landed; and Frank Messina, author of Full Count, a moving and inspiring collection of Mets poetry. Sharon will be on hand, too, to tell us how the Half Marathon went and what’s next for her and Team McGraw.
And, per a great tradition established by Two Boots proprietor Phil Hartman, bring a Mets baseball card for a free beer. The pizza’s pretty good, too.
Celebrate Tug McGraw, celebrate Believing, celebrate your Mets fandom, celebrate a late St. Patrick’s Day, celebrate the approach of Opening Day. Join us March 23, 7 PM, for AMAZIN’ TUESDAY. Two Boots Tavern is located at 384 Grand St., between Norfolk and Suffolk. You can take the F to Delancey; the J, M or Z to Essex; or the B or D to Grand. Phone: 212/228-8685.
I’ve been honored to have received wonderful reviews from around the Metsosphere for Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets. The latest, from the relentlessly logical Mike Steffanos of Mike’s Mets, makes me particularly proud.
And speaking of great Mets synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day, visit Eddie Kranepool Society and read all about Bob Murphy’s nomination for induction into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame at Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant. Tug McGraw is a charter member.
Finally, because it’s quite enlightening, get the scoop from the top at Jeff Wilpon’s Video Blog. Betcha didn’t know what updates are in store for Mets uniforms this year!