'Ya Gotta Believe' Gala A Success

Tug McGraw's spirit is living on through the Tug McGraw Foundation. On Tuesday night, they presented their inaugural 'Ya Gotta Believe' awards at a gala in New York City. McGraw's son, singer Tim McGraw, organized the event in honor of his father's memory.

The inaugural "Ya Gotta Believe" gala to benefit the Tug McGraw Foundation was a complete success on Monday night. The foundation, created by the former Phillies and Mets pitcher, provides education and funds for brain cancer research.

The event was coordinated by McGraw's son, Tim, who thought all went well. "I think we have a lot to be proud about," said the younger McGraw. "I think Tug would appreciate this."

The event also honored former Met Rusty Staub and ESPN for their contributions.

Staub, who was a teammate and close friend of McGraw's, was honored for his work in organizing two charitable foundations. The New York Police and Fire Widow's and Children's Benefit Fund Foundation and The Rusty Staub Foundation provide funding that improves lives.

ESPN was honored for their work in helping to found and fund The V Foundation For Cancer Research. The organization is named after college coaching great Jim Valvano, who along with ESPN, founded the organization to help find a cure for cancer. The annual ESPY Awards benefit the foundation's work.

McGraw pitched for both the Mets and Phillies and both organizations were represented at the gala. The Phillies were represented by Bob Boone, John Kruk and Jim Thome, while the Mets representatives included John Franco, Al Leiter, COO Jeff Wilpon and of course, Staub.

If Mets fans will remember McGraw for "Ya Gotta Believe" and the pursuit of the 1973 National League pennant, then Phillies fans will surely remember the lefty for the 1980 World Series ending strikeout of Willie Wilson more than any other event.

Tug McGraw died of brain cancer on January 5, 2004 at the age of 59.

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