Coaches’ Corner: Tom McGraw

Phillipian Sports: How long have you been playing baseball? Tom McGraw: I played Little League for Harris Buick-Pontiac when I was seven. I had about 30 at-bats that year and I [was] walked 28 times. I’ve been playing baseball for 49 years—well, of course, there were years I didn’t play. PS: Did you play throughout high school and college? TM: I played my freshman year in high school and then gave it up and took it back up in college. I played at Notre Dame. It was a varsity team and I played for two years. I was the centerfielder. PS: What motivated you to pick up baseball again in college? TM: I always loved the sport, but I just didn’t like going out and playing in the snow. I felt like I could play at that level and that I wanted to play at that level. The best thing about it was that at Norte Dame, before the day of [athletic] scholarships, guys from other sports populated our baseball team—I played with Joe Theismann, who won a Super Bowl with the Redskins. The guys on the team were loose, to put it mildly. We had a bunch of anarchic intellectuals on the baseball team and we played for a guy where we had to be that way. The coach was over 80 years old, he was a professor in the math department, and he never once called me by my right name in two years. This guy was totally senile. You had to amuse yourself, and we were good at that. It was fun; it was a great time. PS: How long have you been coaching baseball here at PA? TM: I’ve been coaching baseball here on and off—well, more on than off–for my full 24 years here. PS: With the team you’re coaching this year, what are some of the strengths of your players? TM: The strength of this team is the utter maturity and experience. These kids, it’s their team; they’re directing it. I have kids who love to play, that’s clear. They love to have fun, that’s clear. I haven’t seen a team here make the kinds of plays in the field that these guys make. They’ve made pro plays in the field. I attribute that to the fact that the kids are loose, they’re happy, they know that it’s their team. Therefore, they don’t need the coaches to direct what they do; they do it and we happily follow their lead. We have superb leadership up and down the line-up. The other thing is that we have kids that are multitalented and versatile.