Count Tim McGraw as a big fan of Hank Aaron, baseball’s beloved homerun king who died Friday.
In an Instagram post, McGraw noted that his father, a pro baseball player, gave up four career homeruns to Hank Aaron.
McGraw wrote: “We lost a great American Hero. Hank Aaron broke records and he broke barriers. He played the game with such a wonderful style and grace. And what a hitter, still holding records to this day!
“My dad, Tug McGraw, gave up 4 career home runs to Hammerin’ Hank! When asked how he would pitch him if the bases were loaded, Tugger said “I’d pitch just as I would to any other hitter, but I wouldn’t be damned fool enough to let go of the ball.” God speed Hank.”
McGraw’s father, Tug McGraw, played his career in the National League, starring for both the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. So Tug McGraw had plenty of opportunities to face Hank Aaron and the Atlanta Braves.
While Tug McGraw helped Aaron to four of his 755 career homers, he also had terrific games against him, too. Tug McGraw was primarily known as a relief pitcher. But he threw one career shutout. And it was against the Braves. He faced Hank Aaron four times. With two on base in the first inning, Aaron grounded into an easy 6-4-3 double play. Later in the game, Aaron singled off of McGraw. But in two more appearances, McGraw enticed Aaron into a line out at third and a pop up to second.
Tim McGraw didn’t know Tug McGraw was his dad until he was 11 years old. Tug McGraw and his mother had a brief fling when Tug McGraw played minor league baseball in Florida. Father and son first met in Houston.
The two didn’t have a relationship until Tim McGraw was in high school. So there wasn’t much of a chance for Tim McGraw to watch his father pitch in person and cheer on players like Hank Aaron.
But Tim McGraw still knows the game of baseball. He played it since he was a kid. And he attended Northeast Louisiana University on a baseball scholarship.
Tim McGraw wasn’t the only country star to mourn Hank Aaron. Trisha Yearwood is a life-long Atlanta Braves fan. She recalled how much she loved watching Aaron play.
“Our dad, Jack never missed watching an @braves game. We were raised on baseball. I was 9 years old when Hammerin’ Hank hit 715 in Atlanta, surpassing Babe Ruth’s home-run record. And I remember cheering loudly with my family, watching that historical moment on tv (thank you Ted Turner and TBS!).”
Yearwood said she met Hank Aaron at a World Series game when she sang the national anthem. Yearwood said: ” I became that 9 year old kid again, and Mr. Aaron couldn’t have been more gracious.”