|Second Baseman / Third Baseman|
October 7, 1934|
Little Rock, Arkansas
|Died: January 27, 2010
Los Angeles, California
|April 17, 1960 for the Chicago Cubs|
Last MLB appearance
|September 30, 1962 for the New York Mets|
|Runs batted in||7|
Samuel Harrison Drake (October 7, 1934 – January 27, 2010) was a Major League Baseball second and third baseman. He played two seasons with the Chicago Cubs from 1960 to 1961 and one season with the expansion 1962 New York Mets. Sammy and his brother, Solly, were the first two African-American brothers to play in the modern era of baseball. However, his Major League career was shorted because of knee injuries.
Samuel was born in Arkansas, and attended Philander Smith College. He tried out for the Kansas City Monarchs, however his brother Solly recommended Samuel to play baseball in Winnipeg, Canada where racism wasn't much of a factor, unlike the United States.
Minor League career
He was signed by the Cubs organization prior to the 1955 season, after impressing manager Pepper Martin in spring training. Samuel played for Macon Peaches of the South Atlantic League in 1955, batting .251 in 105 games, while leading the league in stolen bases. He and teammate Ernest Johnson were the first African-Americans to play for Mason, where Drake experienced the racism and Jim Crow laws first hand from the local hometown fans, something he later claimed as a motivation for a further career in Major Leagues. The town African-American population was supportive of the duo, but otherwise Drake nor Johnson were able to sit in the same establishments as their white teammates.
Major League Baseball
Samuel moved up to the Chicago Cubs organization in 1960. He played in 15 games that year, batting .067 in 16 at-bats while scoring five times primary as a pinch runner. Drake participated in another 12 games in 1961, where he was again primarily used as a pitch runner while being held hitless in five at-bats. He was drafted by the expansion New York Mets prior to the 1962 season. He played in only 25 games with the Mets, batting .192 with 10 hits and seven runs batted in in 52 at-bats, before being sent back down to the minor leagues because of recurring knee problems.
In 53 career games, Drake batted .153 with seven runs batted in and eight runs scored.
When his playing career ended, Samuel became an government employee for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and a Sunday school teacher for his brother's church. He died from cancer at age 75 on January 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
- Thursby, Keith (March 7, 2010). "Samuel Drake dies at 75; infielder for the Cubs, Mets". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- Harvey, Coley (May 10, 2009). "Macon’s Jackies: The forgotten story of Samuel Drake and Ernest Johnson". The Mason Telegraph. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "Sammy Drake Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 7 December 2013.