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Solly Drake

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Solomon Louis Drake



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Solly Drake was the older of the first black brother combination to play major league baseball in the 20th Century. His brother Sammy Drake was an infielder for the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets from 1960 to 1962. Fleet Walker and Welday Walker, another black brother combination, had played in the 19th Century.

Before the 1951 season Solly was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent. Solly would spend 1951 with he class C Topeka Owls and the 20 year old outfielder would appear in 85 games and hit for a .324 average.

The United States Military Service would be Drakes home in 1952-53, during the Korean War. Solly would arrive back on the ballfield in time for the 1954 season, where he would appear in 106 games for the class A Des Moines Bruins and hit at a .282 pace. Solly, seemingly destined to be the Cubs centerfielder In 1955, would break his ankle early on and would finish the season with the PCL Los Angeles Angels getting into only 44 games and hitting .261.

The speedy switch hitting outfielder, once timed in 10 seconds flat in the 100 yard dash, was brought up by the Chicago Cubs in 1956 appeared in 65 games, hit for a .256 average and fielded at a .993 clip. He would also be with the AAA St. Paul Saints in '56 for 55 games, hitting .333 with nine homeruns.

Solly would be back in the minors in 1957, hitting .290 for the Portland Beavers and in 1958 he would turn it up a notch and hit .301 with nine homers for the Montreal Royals, also leading the IL in hits with 183, runs with 105 and triples with 16. 1959 would see Drake back in the National League, getting into nine games with the Los Angeles Dodgers and 67 with the Philadelphia Phillies. This would mark the end of his major league run with a career batting average of .232 in 141 games.

Drake would spend two more seasons in pro baseball in 1960 and '61 with the Buffalo Bisons and the Portsmouth-Norfolk Tides winding up his nine year pro baseball career with a minor league batting average of .283 in 842 games.

After baseball the Reverend Solomon Drake became the minister of the Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church In Los Angeles, CA.

[edit] Sources

Baseball-Reference.com
Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page


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