Monday, July 13, 2009

1976 Topps #142 - Dick Drago

  • Dick Drago was a pitcher for several teams from 1969-1981. He is probably most remembered for his two tenures with the Boston Red Sox.
  • Drago started in the Detroit Tigers organization and pitched in their minor league system from 1964-1968. He was taken by the Kansas City Royals in the expansion draft and was used by the Royals as a starting pitcher. In his rookie year of 1969, Dick was 11-13 with a 3.77 ERA in 26 starts (41 games total). He was 9-15 with a 3.75 ERA in 34 starts in 1970.
  • Dick had his best season in 1971. He was 17-11 with a 2.98 ERA and was fifth in AL Cy Young Award balloting. He was only 12-17 in 1972 despite an ERA of 3.01. Dick was 12-14 with a 4.23 ERA and he was traded to the Boston Red Sox after the season for Marty Pattin.
  • Drago was used as a swingman in 1974. He started 18 games and relieved in 15 more games. Dick was 7-10 with a 3.48 ERA and 3 saves.
  • Dick was a vital part of the Red Sox' run to the AL title in 1975. Rick Wise returned to the Boston rotation so Drago was moved to the bullpen full time. He had a high ERA (3.84), but he was 2-2 with 15 saves. Starting on August 27, he got one win and eight saves in 13 appearances. He was used a lot in the AL playoffs and the World Series as well. He lost game 2 of the series and pitched three scoreless innings in the 12-inning game 6.
  • In spring training of 1976, the Red Sox made an ill-advised deal with the California Angels. Drago was sent to the Angels for John Balaz, Dick Sharon, and Dave Machemer (none of whom would ever play for Boston). Dick was 7-8 with a 4.46 ERA for the Angels in 1976. Dick gave up Hank Aaron's 755th (and final) home run in 1976. He appeared in 13 games for the Angels in 1977 and then was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Dyar Miller. He ended up 6-4 with 5 saves and an ERA of 3.43 for the two teams. After the season Drago became a free agent and signed with the Red Sox.
  • In 1978 Dick was 4-4 with a 3.03 ERA and 7 saves. He repeated his 3.03 ERA in 1979 and was 10-6 and had a career-high 13 saves. In 1980 he got seven starts (out of 43 appearances) and was 7-7 with a 4.14 ERA.
  • Before the 1981 season Drago was dealt to the Seattle Mariners. He was upset because Boston didn't release him and make him a free agent. Dick had his highest ERA (5.53) and was 4-6 for the Mariners. Seattle released him in spring training of 1982.
  • After his career Drago had problems with the IRS. Several tax shelters he claimed were disallowed. He also was divorced twice and had large child support payments. He was arrested in Florida in 1992 and returned to Massachusetts on charges of failure to pay child support. A settlement was soon reached and he returned to Florida. Drago was running a printing business in Tampa, FL in 2001.
  • Here is a SABR biography of Dick Drago. Here is Dick's facebook page.

1 comment:

  1. I remember having Drago's disk for the Cadaco All-Star Baseball game where you use a spinner to determine the outcomes for each at-bat. (A simplistic Strat-o-Matic, I guess.) I used to play it for hours on end. (Had Rick Wise's Red Sox disk too!) Good times.