Richard Drago Inducted 1990 - Class of 1963
Baseball has indeed been very, very good to Richard "Dick" Drago. As a kid growing up in the Old West End on Walker Avenue, Dick describes his earlier involvement with the sport, "There were lots of boys and we were always playing baseball. The kind you see in the movies."
Dick's field of dreams was nurtured at Woodward under the direction of coach, Leo Robie. Even though Robie was near the end of his coaching career, he knew that Dick was exceptional and worked hard with him, teaching him the skills he needed to be a successful professional player. As an outstanding pitcher, Dick played Woodward baseball for four years. He also participated in federation baseball.
Dick graduated from Woodward in 1963 and was offered a baseball scholarship to the University of Detroit. After one year at the university, Dick was offered a bonus for signing a contract with the Detroit Tigers. In 1965, he became a professional baseball player with the Tigers' Daytona Beach,
Florida team. Dick spent half the season with the Florida team but was elevated to the Rocky Mount, North Carolina Class A League. He rounded out the season in this more prestigious league by pitching a no-hitter. This accomplishment made baseball history. Dick pitched a no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader. His teammate Darrel Clark followed the trend by pitching another no-hitter. Dick's next stop was a Class AA team in Montgomery, Alabama.
He was promoted in 1968 and headed north to play for the Toledo Mud Hens. Dick's record with the hometown team was 15 wins and 8 losses with a 3.36 earned run average.
Before the 1969 season, the league expanded. Dick was picked from the Detroit team by the new Kansas City Royals. He pitched there for five years. In 1971, he pitched his best season with a 17-11 record and a 2.99 earned run average.
At the end of the 1973 season, Dick was traded to the Boston Red Sox and played there until 1975. During this year, the Boston Red Sox won the American League Championship. In the second and third games for the Pennant, Dick had two saves. In fact, throughout the 1975 season, Dick had 15 saves with the Red Sox. Boston met the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series but lost, four games to three. Dick pitched in the second and sixth games of the 1975 Series.
Before retiring after the 1981 season, Dick also played for the California Angels, Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners. Throughout his career, Dick appeared in 519 games with an average of 108 wins, 117 loses, 58 saves and an earned run average of 3.62.Last year, Dick signed with the Fort Myers Sun Sox, one of eight charter members of the Senior Professional Baseball Association. At 44, he was the oldest pitcher on the team. He also had the best earned run average of all the players who signed. Unfortunately, Dick's career in the senior league was short lived. He was forced to leave the team because of an elbow injury.
Dick currently lives in Florida and works for a time-sharing real estate company. He is divorced and has two children, Darren and Dina. While at Woodward, Dick was also on the basketball team as a sophomore. An avid bowler, Dick played for Woodward his junior and senior years. He was a member of the Junior Council on World Affairs and the Hi-Y Club. Dick said his favorite teachers were Mr. Foose and fellow Hall of Famer, Jim Wilusz.
The baseball player said the best thing that happened to him while in high school revolved around the great American pastime. "The important thing that happened was being scouted by several professional baseball teams while playing baseball my final two years at Woodward," Dick said.