According to TODAY, the “Don’t Take the Girl” singer only found out that Tug was his father when he looked at his birth certificate.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize I didn’t grow up with Tug. … didn’t know Tug was my dad. I found my birth certificate when I was 11 years old,” Tim McGraw said during 2019. “And, like I said, we didn’t have a whole lot, and I was in my mom’s closet, I was digging through something and found my birth certificate.”
At the time, the country music star did not go by the last name McGraw.
“It said McGraw,” he also said. “My name was Smith as a kid because my stepdad’s name was Horace Smith.”
But, despite not knowing his father for a good portion of his life, Tim McGraw does not harbor any negative feelings for his famous father. The “Highway Don’t Care” singer shared his thoughts on his relationship with Tug McGraw during an August 2021 interview with Esquire.
“People ask me, ‘How could you have a relationship with your father? You were growing up in nothing. He was a millionaire baseball player. He knew you were there, and he didn’t do anything.’ But when I found out Tug McGraw was my dad, it gave me something in my little town in Louisiana, something that I would have never reached for. How could I ever be angry?” Tim McGraw also said.
Tim McGraw and His Father Reconnected When Tim Was 18 Years Old
Tug pitched for both the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets during his professional career. He passed away in 2004 due to brain cancer. He was 59 years old at the time of his death, which is only five years older than his son is now.
Tim McGraw met Tug the year he found his birth certificate. However, they did reconnect again until the future country music star turned 18 years old. After that, they developed a much closer relationship. Even though his father wasn’t there as he grew up, Tim McGraw drew inspiration and confidence from Tug and his career as a professional baseball player.
“It changed what I thought I could do with my life coming from the circumstances I came from. I felt like when I found that out, you know, he’s a professional baseball player who’s successful, to me, it made me think that blood is in my veins, so that ability is in there,” Tim McGraw also said.
It was during the 2015 World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals that Tim McGraw had a chance to publically honor his late father. He threw out the first pitch of Game 4 while wearing a Mets jersey. The number on the back was 45, which was the jersey number his father had when the Mets won the World Series in 1969.