Pitcher Tug McGraw heads to Jacksonville, Fla., to play for a minor league club. There, the future Mets player meets 18-year-old Betty Dagostino (now Trimble). They have a brief romance; Betty becomes pregnant; and Tug, unaware that she's expecting, leaves town. When Tim is seven months old, Betty marries Horace Smith, whom she tells Tim is his father.
McGraw, at age 11, finds his birth certificate and sees his biological father's surname. He confronts Betty, who finally tells him his dad is baseball player Tug McGraw, a Philly's pitcher who had played for the Mets. Betty takes McGraw to meet Tug, who says, "I haven't been much of a father, so let's be friends," Betty tells PEOPLE in 1994.
After years of sending Tug unanswered letters, McGraw is fed up, but asks his dad to chip in for college tuition. According to Esquire, Tug agrees on the condition that neither McGraw nor Betty contact him again. The younger McGraw asks for one last meeting, and when Tug sees his grown son, he drops the conditions and the pair begin to forge a relationship.
McGraw leaves college, where he learned to play guitar, and heads for Nashville to try his hand in music. He's signed by Curb Records in 1991 and releases his self-titled debut album the following year. Sales are low, so Curb sends him on the road with his band to build a following.
McGraw redeems himself with his second album, Not a Moment Too Soon, which becomes the best-selling country record of the year. One popular track, "Indian Outlaw," draws ire from American Indian groups. To stem the controversy, the Washington Post reports, McGraw meets with American Indian leaders.
McGraw, who developed a crush on Faith Hill after spotting her in 1995, embarks on the Spontaneous Combustion Tour with the singer – and this time, sparks fly. In Montana, McGraw proposes in his trailer dressing room. When McGraw goes onstage, Hill scribbles "Yes" on his mirror.
McGraw and Hill marry in Rayville, La., near McGraw's hometown. "I've got to be one of the luckiest guys in the world," McGraw tells USA Today. "She's incredible, one of the most down-to-earth people I've ever met in my life."
The newlyweds welcome their first daughter, Gracie Katherine, who weighs just 4 lbs. 14 oz. Then, with Gracie just over a year old, McGraw and Hill have another daughter, 6 lbs. 9 oz. Maggie Elizabeth, on August 12, 1998. "Ideally, we'd love five kids," McGraw tells PEOPLE. "I always wanted boys, but in a way I want it to stay this way. Just keep having girls – that way I'll always dress good."
At the 34th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, McGraw wins male vocalist of the year. But the big winner of the evening is his wife, who collects five awards. "It's all about my wife," McGraw tells PEOPLE.
McGraw and pal Kenny Chesney are arrested following a concert in Orchard Park, N.Y., after Chesney allegedly mounts a policeman's horse. Afraid that his friend would fall down, McGraw holds back the officers and is arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault, menacing and resisting arrest. When they go to trial the following year, they are cleared on all charges. In July, McGraw and Hill joins forces on the Soul2Soul tour, which grosses $50 million.
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Courtesy Tim McGraw; BETTE MARSHALL/Shooting Star; MARK HUMPHREY/AP; Michael S. Green/AP; Kevin Mazur/WireImage