Saying Goodbye to Tug
updated 01/19/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 01/19/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST
It was the start of a beautiful relationship that was tragically cut short on Jan. 5, when Tug, 59, died of brain cancer. In the 10 months since his father had been diagnosed with the disease, Tim, along with his wife, country singer Faith Hill, had helped care for him. "Tim stepped in and found the best doctors," says Tug's first wife, Phyllis McGraw. "It extended Tug's life for eight months." At his death, Tug was staying at a cabin Tim and Faith own in Franklin, Tenn. "We take comfort in knowing that his spirit will never die," said the McGraws in a statement.
Tug's death also robbed baseball of one of its most colorful characters: Among many escapades, he once showed up for a game on St. Patrick's Day with his uniform dyed green. He also coined the memorable phrase "Ya gotta believe!" while playing for the upstart 1973 New York Mets. Says former Mets teammate Ron Swoboda: "He glowed a little brighter than everyone else."