Dick Drago, a pitcher on the 1975 Red Sox team, died Thursday on the age of 78 from complications following surgery, the Boston Globe reported.
“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.”
Drago pitched within the majors from 1969-81.
He played his first five seasons with the Royals and finished fifth within the 1971 Cy Young, going 17-11 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 complete games.
He was traded to the Red Sox, where he was a starter and reliever, in 1974.
“That was probably the most difficult 12 months for me on my arm,” Drago later recalled in an interview. “I’d pitch a few games in relief. Then a starter would come up lame and I’d fill in because the starter. That happened all 12 months and at the tip of the 12 months, I felt like I had pitched 300 innings.”
In 1975, focused on closing, he saved 15 games for the AL East champs after which two more within the ALCS victory over Oakland where he recorded the ultimate out.
He recorded 4 outs or more in 11 of those 17 saves.
“It might have been great to only should get three outs for a save,” he said in 2009 concerning the shorter workload for contemporary relievers.
“A whole lot of times back then, we’d go three innings to get a save. I probably would have had rather a lot more saves if pitching today.”
In Game 6 of the World Series against the Reds — widely considered to be the best game ever played — Drago pitched three innings of shutout relief in Boston’s victory, though Cincinnati took the title the next night.
He was traded to the Angels after the season and gave up Hank Aaron’s 755th home run, the last of Aaron’s profession, in a loss to the Brewers.
Drago pitched for the Orioles after which returned to the Red Sox before ending his profession with the Mariners.
“I used to be shocked to listen to concerning the sudden passing of my old teammate,” 1975 AL Rookie of the 12 months and AL MVP Fred Lynn tweeted. “He was our closer before they called it a better. My thoughts exit to his family. He will probably be missed.”