McHugh shares resiliency, passion with father

Righty excited to spend Father's Day with 3 generations

McHugh shares resiliency, passion with father

HOUSTON -- As Astros pitcher Collin McHugh prepares to celebrate his first Father's Day following the birth of his son in the offseason, he's looking forward to spending some time with his father, as well, and rejoicing in what they've accomplished and what's ahead.

Scott McHugh and his wife, Teresa -- who will join Collin, his wife, Ashley, and their son, Shaw, in Houston for Father's Day -- helped mold McHugh into one of the most well-rounded and versatile men in baseball. They're looking forward to sharing a special Father's Day, which falls on Collin's 29th birthday.

"There will be three generations of McHughs right there," Collin said. "That's something pretty special."

That's also a lot of resiliency in one place. Collin struggled to keep his career afloat for several years before sticking with the Astros, and Scott has been battling prostate cancer for more than two years. He's symptom free, Collin said, but that didn't stop the pitcher from joining veteran Jason Motte's "Let's Strike Out Cancer."

Collin is the Astros' representative and helps sell "K Cancer" T-shirts, which raise money for the Jason Motte Foundation and a charity of the player's choosing. For Collin, it's MD Anderson Cancer Center.

"It's done some great things in cancer research and treatment, and my dad's going to be there the next couple of weeks consulting with some of the doctors there," Collin said. "We've got some great charities, some great institutions that are really being helped out by this."

Collin was born in Naperville, Ill., and lived there for seven years before the family relocated to the Atlanta area, which is where he grew up. His parents started a nondenominational church in Alpharetta, Ga.

His mother worked at Providence Christian Academy as the head receptionist at the school, which is where McHugh attended beginning in the sixth grade. He started playing baseball in high school at Providence Christian. But growing up, Collin played nearly every sport, with the exception of football.

"Baseball for him started at 4 years old," Scott said. "He loved every sport, but he had an affinity for pitching. I was a left-handed pitcher in my day, but it wasn't cool to play baseball in my high school, so I played football. I struck out 13 in one game, and he beat me when he was in the sixth grade, but early on, he just loved baseball."

Scott McHugh helped foster Collin's love of baseball at a young age.

Growing up in Atlanta, the family would attend Braves games together and revel in the magic of Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz. Father and son shared the game together and talked pitching.

"It's nostalgic when look I back at it and think of not only the success the Braves had and us being able to watch it, but me being able to track along with those guys as I was growing up, too," Collin said.

That's what made the events leading up to McHugh's Major League debut so special. Drafted in the 18th round by the Mets in 2008, he toiled in New York's system before finally getting the call and making his Major League debut on Aug. 23, 2012, against the Rockies. He threw seven scoreless innings, striking out nine while allowing just two hits and one walk.

"I got the nod from our skipper saying, 'You're going to the big leagues,'" McHugh said. "First call was to Ashley, who was just down the street at our apartment, and the next call was to my dad and let him know, 'Hey, it's happening. How quickly can we get tickets? How quickly can we get up there?'"

McHugh got knocked around early in his career and wasn't sure he would make it, but the Astros selected him off waivers, and he started 25 games in 2014 and went 11-9 with a 2.73 ERA. Last year, he went 19-7 with a 3.89 ERA in 32 starts.

"It was him and my mom the whole way, taking me to baseball games, taking me to basketball games and soccer games," McHugh said. "I was never really good at entertaining myself growing up, so I need some sort of sport to kind of keep me going, and they were there the whole time."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.