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Solly Drake

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Solly Drake

Solly Drake
Outfielder
Born: (1930-10-23) October 23, 1930 (age 83)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Batted: Switch Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 17, 1956 for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1959 for the Philadelphia Phillies
Career statistics
Batting average .232
Home runs 2
Runs scored 41
Teams

Solomon Louis Drake (born October 23, 1930) was an outfielder in Major League Baseball. He played in 141 games for the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies during the 1956 & 1959 baseball seasons. Solly and his brother, Sammy, were the first African-American brothers to play in the majors.[1]

Solly was born Solomon Louis Drake on October 23, 1930 in Little Rock, Arkansas to Jessie and Solomon Drake. He is the oldest of three children. He and his siblings were raised by their devout, Christian mother and grandparents. Throughout his childhood, he played football, baseball, ran track and field, and worked numerous small jobs. In 1948, he graduated from Dunbar High School. After high school, Solomon Drake began his baseball career when he joined the Elmwood Giants of the Mandak League as a 17-year-old outfielder that same year and returned for two more seasons in Manitoba. He suited up with the Giants in 1950 for the inaugural season of the Mandak League. A .300 hitter with Elmwood in 1950, Drake began his pro career in 1951 as an all-star with Topeka. After he served two years in the military, Drake put in two more seasons in the minors before his debut, at age 25, with the Cubs in April, 1956. In 1957, he was declared a Campeon de Bateo (Baseball Champion) in Havana, Cuba. He had at least .455 hits at that time.

Solly Drake played a part in baseball trivia history, on July 25, 1956. He was the centerfielder who handled the ball when Roberto Clemente became the only player to ever hit an inside-the-park, walk-off, grand-slam home run.

He officially retired from baseball in 1960. Solomon Drake then went on to graduate from Philander Smith College with a double major in Psychology and Physical Education. Drake is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He is married to Isabelle Dunlap and is the father of three children. His younger brother Sammy Drake was also a player in the Major League baseball having spent two seasons with the Chicago Cubs and one season with the New York Mets. Drake is currently the Pastor of the Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California. In 2008, the corner of 53rd Street and Denker Avenue, where the church is located, was renamed the Rev. Dr. Solomon L. Drake Square. The ceremony for this presentation was attended by numerous members and visitors. Bernard C. Parks, the former LAPD police chief who lost to Mark Ridley-Thomas for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors seat, was one of the numerous visitors at the ceremony and briefly gave a speech praising the life and accomplishments of Pastor Drake. On September 27, 2009, a library across the street from the church was named in his honor.[2]

References

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)
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