Legendary Red Sox pitcher Dick Drago dies at 78

 November 7, 2023

Dick "The Dragon" Drago, who pitched in what is considered the "greatest game ever played," has died at age 78 after complications from surgery.

“We’re saddened by the passing of Dick Drago, a staple of the 70’s Red Sox pitching staff and a beloved teammate,” the team tweeted. “We extend our sympathies to the Drago family.”

Career highlights

Drago grew up in Toledo, Ohio. He began his MLB career with the Kansas City Royals but played most of his professional career with the Boston Red Sox.

He also had short stints with the Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore Orioles, and Seattle Mariners. He came to the Red Sox in 1974, and after what he described as a "rough year" that tired his arm, he went on in 1975 to pitch three innings in the sixth World Series game between the Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds.

The Red Sox won that game, but went on to lose game seven and the series to the Reds.

In a later interview with his college team, Drago said, "That Reds team was really good, just look at all those players. They were such a good team and it went seven games, that series. Five of them were one-run games, so close, and a couple were extra innings."

"You can see me in the background jumping up and down on top of him with my hat off and my black hair, which I use to have flowing all over the place," Drago said of his reaction to the game six win. "It was voted the best World Series in history, I believe."

Moving around

After spending two years with the Angels and Orioles, Drago returned to the Red Sox from 1978 to 1980. He ended his career with the Mariners before retiring in 1981.

When he was with the Angels, he gave up what would be Hank Aaron's final home run in 1976.

Drago had an 3.62 ERA and 3.58 FIP over his career with an above-average ERA+ of 103 in his 1875 innings of work. He appeared in 519 games, had 987 strikeouts, and accrued 108 wins throughout his career.

He has not yet been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, but is considered a legend in pitching for his 13 seasons.

"We mourn"

The Royals also posted on social media about his passing, saying, "We mourn the passing of Dick Drago, a member of the inaugural 1969 Royals, and send our condolences to his family and loved ones."

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