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Former Sports Illustrated Photographer James A. Drake Dies at 89


Longtime Sports Illustrated photographer James. A. Drake died at 89 on Jan. 10, according the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Gary Miles

Drake spent nearly four decades at SI beginning in 1959, and his photos graced the magazine's cover 79 times. He was on hand for some of the most notable sporting events of his era, including Jack Nicklaus’s first Masters win in 1963 and Joe Frazier‘s victory over Muhammed Ali at Madison Square Garden in 1971.

Drake’s work also appeared in Life magazine and other publications. Fellow SI photographer told Miles he views Drake as “the best golf photographer ever.”

You can see some of Drake’s most famous photos at SI below:

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Drake was a Philadelphia native. His work captured city legends Reggie White, Mick Schmidt and Julius Irving, as well as Presidents John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, per Miles. Drake is survived by his sons, Patrick and Chris, three grandchildren and other relatives. 

From the SI Vault: 

• The Battered Face of a Winner 
• Young Jack the Mighty Master 
• The Freshman and the Great Guru