Just one month after Naval Academy grad Mitch Harris made his debut for the St. Louis Cardinals and only 94 years after previous Naval Academy pitcher Nemo Gaines pitched for the 1921 Washington Senators, Oliver Drake made the big leagues, making his debut on Saturday, May 23rd in a 1-0, 13-inning loss to the Miami Marlins. Drake went three innings, with two strikeouts, giving up only two hits and zero walks. He also pitched a perfect 8th inning on Memorial Day in a 4-3 Orioles win over the Houston Astros.
The Orioles, home team for Annapolis fans, wasted no time in promoting the connection and posted a Memorial Day video promoting Drake’s Naval Academy connections.
How did another Naval Academy grad make his way to the major leagues? Well, Drake’s not actually a graduate. The Orioles drafted him at the end of his sophomore year in 2008 and he signed a $100,000 deal to leave school just before he would’ve been required to sign a commitment to stay at Annapolis and fulfill his military obligation after graduation.
It’s been a long, slow climb for Drake over the last seven years. Arm troubles seemed likely to derail his baseball career, but he’s managed to fight through them and earn a spot in the bigs.
And Mitch Harris obviously sees Drake as a Navy brother. “He sent me a text, congratulating me, said he’ll be watching,” Drake said before Saturday’s game. “I’ve loved watching [Harris] doing what he’s been doing right now. He’s been having some success. It’s pretty cool seeing two Navy guys right now in the major leagues.”