The irrespressible Tug McGraw was diagnosed with brain cancer over the weekend and is scheduled to have surgery today. Bill Madden had an article on the 58-year old McGraw over the weekend in the Daily News, which included a recent conversation:
McGraw: "These kids today never heard of the people I used. For instance, my Bo Derek fastball - the one that had a nice tail to it - I'd have to rename Jennifer Lopez for them to understand it. And I know for sure they'd never get the Peggy Lee (Is that all there is?) changeup."
One can only surmise the John Jameson fastball, named after McGraw's favorite Irish whiskey ("because it was my best shot, always straight"), would be lost on today's generation of pitchers, too. The pitch for which he was most noted, however, was his screwball, an offshoot of the Bo Derek fastball.
"I learned it from (former Yankee) Ralph Terry when I was in the Florida instructional league with the Mets in 1966," McGraw said. "Terry was an instructor for them and he told me 'with the natural tail on your fastball you should try the screwball.' He named his screwball "Scroogie" and later authored a syndicated comic book with a character of the same name.