Aug 29, 2015

Former Mets Prospect- Tug's Brother: Hank McGraw (1961-1966)

Henry Thomas McGraw was born on January 26th, 1943 in Oakland, California. He was the older brother & hero of Tug McGaw, who always looked up to his older brother.

The McGraw’s mother had mental issues & had to leave the home when they were boys. Hank, the eldest, took care of the two younger brothers after school while their dad was at work.

Their youngest brother Denny, had gotten in to trouble & was put in a mental institution after he hit a police officer. He blamed the family & they were told to stay away from him. Years later Denny McGraw killed his neighbor after an argument in broad day light, shocking Hank.

Hank was a hippie type of free spirited guy who like his brother marched to a beat of a different drummer. He had long hair & a moustache before it was acceptable in baseball. He once said he was suspended three or four months due to his hair & appearance.

Then a year or two later the Oakland A’s won the World Series with long hair, mutton chops & afros & it was accepted. Hank would sit with black players when there was segregation on team buses & restaurants in the sixties. He would make beaded glass jewelry that he wore & gave to his team mates for their girlfriends.

When the Mets wanted to sign Hank, he told them only if they looked at his younger brother Frank “Tug” McGraw, the rest is history. Hank was an outfielder, catcher & first baseman signed as one of the Mets first bonus babies back in 1961 before they were even in the league. In 1964 Hank drove in a career best 100 runs (third in the league) hitting 20 HRs & batting .268 with the A ball Salinas Mets as a team mate to Bud Harrelson.

In 1965 as Tug was making his MLB debut, Hank was promoted to AA Williamsport batting .252 with 18 HRs (5th in the league) & 71 RBIs (8th in the league).

The McGraw Brothers
That year he was the team’s primary catcher, handling pitchers like Jerry Koosman & future Mets; Bob Moorhead Rob Gardner & Les Rohr. The next season he played 59 games at Williamsport getting to the Jacksonville Suns, for just one game.

The Mets organization let Hank go to The L.A. Angels organization then he was borrowed by Baltimore where he won the EL HR crown. In 1969 as Tug was winning a World Series with the Mets, Hank batted .302 in 95 games at Reading (not qualifying) but would have finished third in the league.

Hank played 12 seasons of minor league ball finishing up in 1972; overall he hit .263 with 160 HRs & 490 RBIs.

After baseball he became somewhat of a drifter, growing his hair long, sporting a big walrus moustache & had a gold earring in his ear. In the early eighties he became a coach at a low level of the Phillies minor leagues.

He had a number of different jobs after baseball; coach, waiter, bartender, singer, ceramic maker, solvent factory worker, got married divorced & had a daughter whom he lost touch with.

Hank remained close to Tug until his death, & also hung around with his nephew country music star Tim McGraw as he toured the country with his band.

Mets All Time Team -SNY's 50th Anniversary special
Hank continues Tug McGraw's legacy helping run the Tug McGraw Foundation & telling stories of his brother career at various functions.

He was a guest, representing his brother on SNY's Mets All Time in 2012, honoring the clubs 50th anniversary.

1 comment:

Jackie said...

My First Crush, Hank!