New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies great Tug McGraw must have had his shoes tied Monday night.
The former major league pitcher made it through surgery at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center with no complications Tuesday.
McGraw, who played from 1965 to 1984, including 10 seasons as a member of the Phillies, had surgery at the Moffitt Center to remove a brain tumor that had spread to both sides of his brain.
Along with friends and family, calling for support was Danny Ozark, who managed McGraw and the Phillies from 1973-79.
Back then, the laces of McGraw’s cleats let the manager know if his pitcher was ready to enter the game.
“(Ozark told me), ‘When Tug was pitching, he would start the game in the clubhouse and about the fourth or fifth inning he would come to the bench, and if his shoes were tied, he was ready to pitch, and if his shoes where untied I knew he had a long night,'” Larry Shenk, the vice president of public relations for the Philadelphia Phillies said.
Dr. Steve Brem, chief of the Neurosurgery Service and director for the Neuro-Oncology Research Laboratory at Moffitt performed the surgery, which lasted from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Brem and his team of assistants, nurses, neuro-navigation device operators and operators of motor-mapping equipment were successful in removing the tumor.
“I’m pleased to report that Tug McGraw is doing great,” Brem said. “He is fine and in great spirits. He is with his family.
“The surgery went fine. We got the tumor out, and he is totally neurologically in tact. He is recovering, and he is looking good.”
Doctors removed the tumor without disturbing the brain and will analyze the tumor to see if it is malignant.
“We started on the right side and went to the left,” Berm said. “We removed all of the tumor and continuously monitored normal functions. He was asleep the entire time and woke up moving and talking, and really is an extraordinary person as everyone knows.”
McGraw only had one tumor. However, it extended to both sides of his brain with two lobe sections.
Berm predicts McGraw will recover successfully and will not suffer from any lasting effects.
“I’ve done this surgery for brain tumors more than 2,000 times, and there are so many different types of tumors, but every type of tumor, if the patient’s neurological condition was good or it was a good surgery, then they will have a meaningful recovery,” Berm said. “I expect Tug McGraw will be back and doing what he does great.”