Former MLB pitcher Dick 'The Dragon' Drago dead at age 78

November 7, 2023
Ben Marquis

A legendary former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, Dick Drago, has passed away at the age of 78, according to the Daily Caller.

Per local media in Boston, the ex-baseball player suffered complications from surgery for an unspecified health issue.

Famed MLB pitcher

Drago's death was announced Saturday in a tweet by the Red Sox, who said, "We’re saddened by the passing of Dick Drago, a staple of the 70’s Red Sox pitching staff and a beloved teammate. We extend our sympathies to the Drago family."

His passing was also observed by the Kansas City Royals, the first team he played for during his Major League career, as the team tweeted, "We mourn the passing of Dick Drago, a member of the inaugural 1969 Royals, and send our condolences to his family and loved ones."

Drago played Major League Baseball for 13 seasons, from 1969 until 1981, and pitched for five different clubs over the course of that career, including the Royals and Red Sox as well as brief stints with the California Angels, Baltimore Orioles, and Seattle Mariners.

His career statistics over those 13 years included 519 games played as both a starter and a reliever with 1,875 innings pitched.

Drago ultimately racked up 108 wins and 117 losses with a 3.62 earned run average, 987 strikeouts, 58 saves, and a respectable walks or hits per innings pitched average (WHIP) of 1.311.

Beloved in Boston reported that Dick "The Dragon" Drago's best years of career were with the Red Sox, where he played from 1974-1975 and again from 1978-1980.

During those two stretches in Boston, the pitcher compiled a win-loss record of 30-29 over 206 games with a 3.55 ERA, 305 strikeouts, 41 saves, and nine complete games.

The peak of his career likely came in 1975 when he pitched the final out of the American League Championship Series that helped the Red Sox win the pennant and advance to the World Series, though the club ultimately lost that final series in seven games, per the Daily Caller.

A low point, albeit a vicariously honorable one, came in 1976, according to, when Drago gave up the final home run, number 755, hit by Hank Aaron at the end of his own legendary MLB career.

Reflections on an incredible career

In a 2009 interview, Drago reflected on his career and spoke about the differences between pitchers now versus then in terms of pitches thrown and innings played per game, the stress of vacillating back and forth between being a starter and reliever, some of the other great players he played with, and the honor of being associated with Aaron's prior record that stood for decades.

He also praised Boston as the best place he played throughout his career and said when asked of his most memorable moments, "There are two. My first major league start. It was a complete game win against the Angels, 3-2, at 24 years old. Imagine that, a complete game.  Also, it was the first ever Royal's complete game.

"The other was pitching in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. I pitched three shutout innings. The 9th, 10th, and 11th. Then [Carlton] Fisk won it in the 12th," he added.

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