Solly Drake had dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. So did his younger brother Sammy.
As a teenager, Solly played for the Elmwood Giants, a minor league team, before he was signed to the farm system of the Chicago Cubs. In 1956, the wiry, switch-hitting outfielder made his major league debut with the Cubs, primarily used as a pinch-hitter. He bounced between the major and minor leagues for most of his career, until he announced his retirement following the 1961 baseball season.
In Solly’s final season, his brother Sammy was also signed by the Cubs. He played sporadically, mostly appearing in games as a pinch-runner. He was sent to the New York Mets, as part of the league expansion, but like his brother, Sammy moved between the minors and majors. He played in 25 games in a single season with the Mets and left baseball at the end of the 1962 season. After ending his baseball career, Sammy entered government service with a position in the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Sammy and Solly Drake faced racism throughout their minor and major league baseball careers. They hold the distinction of being the first African-American brothers to play in the majors.
Sammy passed away in 2010 at the age of 75. Solly lived until he was 90, passing away in August 2021.