Richard Anthony Drago (Dick), a beloved figure in the world of baseball and a cherished family man, passed away on November 3, 2023, in Tampa, FL. He was born June 25, 1945, in Toledo, OH. Dick was a man of many accomplishments and passions, leaving a lasting impact on the sport he loved and the lives of those around him.
Graduating from Woodward High School in 1963, Dick’s exceptional talent in baseball led him to be drafted by the Detroit Tigers Organization in 1964. He later became a notable figure in the Kansas City Royals organization after being selected in the expansion draft in 1968. He threw the first complete game in Kansas City history in his first start against the Angels in 1969. He went on to throw nine complete games in that inaugural season and threw 53 complete games in his five-year Royal career, which still ranks as fifth best all-time.
In 1973, Dick was traded to the Boston Red Sox, where he etched his name in baseball history by making two World Series appearances, notably pitching three scoreless innings in Game Six in 1975. Over his 13 seasons in the major leagues, Dick accumulated 108 victories, 58 saves, 62 complete games, and pitched an impressive 1,875 innings before retiring in 1981. After retiring, Dick remained actively engaged in the world of baseball specifically with the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association doing charity Golf tournaments, Legends Games, and the Red Sox Fantasy Camp every February. He appreciated his fans and was always happy to speak with them about the game and sign memorabilia.
His enthusiasm for the sport extended beyond his professional career, with his involvement with A Glove of Their Own, the award-winning children’s book that many baseball players and coaches are using to promote sharing through baseball. In recent years he became involved with the All-American Girls Baseball organization, advocating and supporting their league. He even coached one of their team at the All-American Women’s Baseball Classic, the Comets in 2022.
Dick’s passion for baseball was only surpassed by his deep affection for his family. He frequently spoke of his children and grandchildren, expressing immense pride in each of their accomplishments. Summers in the New England area held a special place in his heart, where he would often rent a house at the Cape to forge enduring memories with his beloved children and grandchildren. Additionally, Dick cherished the thrill of travel and embarked on memorable road trips across the United States, often accompanied by his closest friend, Frank, adding another layer of adventure and joy to his life.
Dick is survived by his loving children, Darren, Justin, and Dina, and his grandchildren, Taylor and Haley. He is also survived by his siblings, David and Robin, his former spouse and dear friend, Vickie, and his longtime friend, Frank.
Dick Drago will be remembered for his remarkable contributions to the world of baseball and the lasting impact he had on the lives of those who knew and loved him. He will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
It was his request that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his name to:
American Girls Baseball
1811 Englewood Rd. #187
Englewood, FL 34223
The family will be holding a private celebration of his life to be determined at a later date.