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10/26/08 4:50 AM EST

Tim McGraw finds way to honor Tug

Singer sprinkles some of father's ashes on Citizens mound

PHILADELPHIA -- Quiety and almost undetected, Tim McGraw found the perfect way to honor his father.

When the country singer reached the mound to deliver the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 -- with kids from the Nicetown Boys & Girls Club -- he brought his famous father with him.

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From his pocket, McGraw retrieved some of his father's ashes and sprinkled them on the mound. Tug McGraw, who delivered the final pitch of the 1980 World Series, would've loved it.

On Oct. 21, 1980, McGraw struck out Willie Wilson, giving the Phillies their lone World Series title. He remained active with the club since retiring in 1984.

Though dying from brain cancer, McGraw remained a dynamic personality and returned to help close Veterans Stadium in 2003. He delivered a phantom strike from the mound that afternoon, then raised his arms in the air, just as he did that day in 1980.

He passed away on Jan. 5, 2004, at age 59, three months before the opening of Citizens Bank Park. Now a part of him is here. The story of his son's tribute was first reported on Comcast SportsNet during the game.

Tug McGraw, who remains one of the team's most popular players, saved four games during the 1980 postseason. It had been reported that Tim McGraw planned to honor Tug in his own personal way Saturday, but no specifics were given.

Jamie Moyer, who cheered as a Souderton High School student on the night McGraw got that out, thought it was the perfect tribute.

"He has his heart in this organization," Moyer said. "I'm sure he thought it was going to be good luck and it turns out that it probably was. Some people might look at it and think it's distasteful, but you know what, it's pretty cool."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.