Dick Drago, 1975 Sox saves leader has passed at age 78

Reverse Curve

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Sep 11, 2021
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Just saw this pop up on the Boston.com feed.. Aww man, every time we lose a member of that '75 Sox team, at least one fan in Portsmouth, NH sheds a tear.
Drago, an original Royal in their inaugural season, was indeed an important part of that '75 Sox bullpen, including recording the final ALCS winning out against the then vaunted Oakland A's.

https://www.boston.com/sports/boston-red-sox/2023/11/04/dick-drago-red-sox-pitcher-dies-age-78-obituary-news-the-dragon/

View: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/231687-through-the-eyes-ofdick-drago-when-a-save-was-a-save


Bleacher Report, I know, but kind of a cool 'interview' from 2009

Thanks for the memories, Mr. Drago...
 

YTF

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Ever the Red Sox fan, I was so in awe of those early 70's A's teams. Having been born in '60 this was right around the time that I really started following the game and beating Oakland to get into the '75 World Series was so exciting.
 

Norm Siebern

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One of my favorites from that '75 team. I am growing weary of my adolescent heroes dying. Sadness accrues.
RIP and Godspeed, Black Dragon.
 

staz

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The cradle of the game.
Well this sucks. R.I.P. Dick Drago.

Earlier this summer I acquired a lot of about 100 baseball cards that, inexplicably, included no fewer than 16 copies of Drago's 1980 card. My effort to sell this lot was unsuccessful, despite some very persuasive body copy:

TWO BUCKS gets ALL SIXTEEN DELIVERED. Q: Name the top 5 AL Pitchers in 1971. A: Vida Blue, Mickey Lolich, Wilbur Wood, Dave McNally AND THAT'S RIGHT, DICK THE DRAGON DRAGO! $2.00 gets 16 of his 1980 card. AMAZING DEAL!!! I mean can you even buy a coffee for $2.00? Add $2.00 for PWE or $5.00 for BMWT. PayPal or Venmo.
 

Al Zarilla

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Ever the Red Sox fan, I was so in awe of those early 70's A's teams. Having been born in '60 this was right around the time that I really started following the game and beating Oakland to get into the '75 World Series was so exciting.
I was at the clinching '75 ALCS game in Oakland (best 3 out of 5 ALCS's then). I bought tickets for games 3,4,5, but had to take money back for 4 and 5. Shame. Dick Drago got the save in the clincher! Rick Wise the W. Too bad that year's Reds team was so freaking loaded.
 

runnels3

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I'll always believe that if Drago comes in to relieve Torrez instead of Steamer Stanley, things could have turned out differently in 1978. He was the hottest guy in the pen and that was the time to use him. This is no second guess. I was in section 30 and it was my immediate reaction.

Irregardless, RIP Dick Drago
 

Ferm Sheller

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Mar 5, 2007
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I have no memories of Drago, but he was a member of the first team that I started following -- the '78 Sox -- and I must have a dozen of his baseball cards in a box in my basement. Very sorry to hear of his passing.

Also, if you ask me, he bears an uncanny resemblance to his former teammate, Jerry Remy.
 

Dick Drago

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Mar 28, 2002
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I can remember the Hawk exclaiming “here comes the Dragon,” when he came in-he actually won 17 games one year as a starter-and had two good 2,3 month runs as a closer end of ‘75 and early in ‘79—but far more suited to be a set up guy.

I know we revisit it constantly, but that ‘78 bullpen could’ve been great if Campbell stayed healthy-Drago, Burgmeier and Stanley setting up. Oh well…RIP Dragon.
 

Humphrey

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Aug 3, 2010
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I'll always believe that if Drago comes in to relieve Torrez instead of Steamer Stanley, things could have turned out differently in 1978. He was the hottest guy in the pen and that was the time to use him. This is no second guess. I was in section 30 and it was my immediate reaction.

Irregardless, RIP Dick Drago
Stanley made 2 7 inning starts the last week of the season after being a reliever (a very good one) all season. Even came out of the pen twice between those starts. No doubt he was cooked by that fateful Monday afternoon.

Long way of me saying I agree w/Drago there was less of a chance of Mr. October putting one in the bullpen.
 

lexrageorge

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Jul 31, 2007
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I can remember the Hawk exclaiming “here comes the Dragon,” when he came in-he actually won 17 games one year as a starter-and had two good 2,3 month runs as a closer end of ‘75 and early in ‘79—but far more suited to be a set up guy.

I know we revisit it constantly, but that ‘78 bullpen could’ve been great if Campbell stayed healthy-Drago, Burgmeier and Stanley setting up. Oh well…RIP Dragon.
Drago's 4 scoreless innings against Toronto in one of the win-or-go-home games in the final week of 1978 were huge.

I'll always believe that if Drago comes in to relieve Torrez instead of Steamer Stanley, things could have turned out differently in 1978. He was the hottest guy in the pen and that was the time to use him. This is no second guess. I was in section 30 and it was my immediate reaction.

Irregardless, RIP Dick Drago
Yeah, I think Stanley may have tired a bit. By the time he appeared in that fateful game, he was working on 2 days rest after starting and pitching 7 innings against Toronto. Stanley was up in the bullpen briefly earlier in the game when Torrez had some first inning jitters (he walked Mickey Rivers on 4 pitches and then got behind 2-0 to Thurman Munson), but Drago and Burgmeier were both well rested with Eck and Tiant having pitched 2 complete game victories. Then again, Zimmer was never known to be a genius when it came to bullpen usage.

EDIT: Had Zimmer brought in Burgmeier to face the 3 lefties in Reggie Jackson, Nettles and Chambliss, the game goes into extras. Not as egregious as having Bob Bailey and a badly concussed Dwight Evans take meaningful at bats against Gossage.
 
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DJnVa

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Dec 16, 2010
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I have no memories of Drago, but he was a member of the first team that I started following -- the '78 Sox -- and I must have a dozen of his baseball cards in a box in my basement. Very sorry to hear of his passing.

Also, if you ask me, he bears an uncanny resemblance to his former teammate, Jerry Remy.
I do as well.

73422
 

ledsox

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Nov 14, 2005
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He pitched and won my first Fenway game for the Royals in August of ‘71. He went all the way to beat Lonberg 5-1 with the help of a lead off Freddie Patek homerun. Took him to 15-6 with a 2.77 ERA.

Drago gave up 9 hits but with the help of FIVE DPs he only faced 31 batters that night.
Was much more fun watching him later in the decade.
RIP Mr Drago
 

Montana Fan

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Oct 18, 2000
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Go to 36.25 for one of The Possum's great calls when Dick Drago comes out of the pen to get a double play in the 8th.

Then, continue listening for the pennant clincher by Nedly with Dick still on the mound.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3hEj1HzSMA&t=482s
Well done Shawn! My dad gave me that album for Christmas in 1975. I have the CD and didn’t realize it is also linked on the internet. Me and my rest baseballl pal must have listened to 50 games a summer while swimming and playing hoops.
 

EyeBob

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Dec 22, 2022
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I was there the night he hit 3 at Fenway and had at least one more at bat with a chance to hit 4. Angels won, 20-2, or something like that. w/o looking it up, don't think the Sox threw a position player in there to pitch, either.
I remember that game. Little bastard!