Sammy Drake

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Samuel Harrison Drake

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Biographical Information[edit]

The brother of Solly Drake, infielderSammy Drake began his pro career in 1953 with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, where Ernie Banks was a teammate. At the end of the 1954 season, he was signed by the Chicago Cubs. Along with Ernest Johnson, he became one of the first black players on the class A Macon Peaches in 1955, and the 20-year-old hit .251 in 105 games.

Drake waited until 1960 before getting a shot at the major leagues. After hitting .318 for the San Antonio Missions that summer, the Cubs took a look at him for 15 games, mostly as a pinch hitter, and he responded by going just 1 for 15. With the Houston Buffs the next summer, he hit .307 with 10 homers before earning another late-season look by the Cubs, playing in 13 games but not getting base hit in 5 at-bats.

On October 10, 1961 Drake was drafted by the New York Mets in the 1961 expansion draft. The Mets placed him with the Syracuse Chiefs and the Columbus Jets in 1962, before bringing him up to the bigs. He managed 10 hits in 52 at-bats for a .192 average in 25 games. This closed out Drake's three-year big league career with a .153 average.

Drake spent a few more years in the AAA minors, closing out in 1965 with the Buffalo Bisons, hitting .255. He had eight active years in the minors from 1955 through 1965, appearing in 782 contests with 2,721 at bats with 743 base hits, including 51 home runs, for a minor league career batting average of .273.

Drake's brother Solly played two major league seasons with three teams in 1956 and 1959. They were the first black brother combination to play major league baseball in the 20th Century; Fleet Walker and Welday Walker had played in the 19th Century. Sammy passed away January 27, 2010 in Los Angeles.

Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

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