Lee May

Lee May

Lee May
First baseman
Born: (1943-03-23) March 23, 1943
Birmingham, Alabama
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 1, 1965, for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
September 24, 1982, for the Kansas City Royals
MLB statistics
Batting average .267
Home runs 354
Runs batted in 1,244
Career highlights and awards

Lee Andrew May (born March 23, 1943 in Birmingham, Alabama) is a retired American Major League Baseball (MLB) first baseman and designated hitter who played 18-seasons for the Cincinnati Reds (1965–71), Houston Astros (1972–74), Baltimore Orioles (1975–80), and Kansas City Royals (1981–82). He batted and threw right-handed. He is the older brother of former Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees outfielder Carlos May.

May, nicknamed "The Big Bopper", hit 20 or more home runs and 80 or more run batted in (RBI), in 11 consecutive seasons.[1] He led the American League (AL) in RBI in 1976. May also made three All-Star Game appearances including being named the starting first baseman for the National League (NL) team in 1972.[2]


  • High School 1
  • Minor league 2
  • Major league 3
    • Cincinnati Reds 1965–71 3.1
    • Houston Astros 1972–74 3.2
    • Baltimore Orioles 1975–80 3.3
    • Kansas City Royals 1981–82 3.4
  • Overall career 4
  • Family 5
  • Literary References 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

High School

May was a standout in both baseball and football at

Preceded by
Rocky Colavito
Kansas City Royals Hitting Coach
Succeeded by
Hal McRae
Preceded by
Tony Pérez
Cincinnati Reds First Base Coach
Succeeded by
Tony Pérez
Preceded by
José Cardenal
Tampa Bay Rays First Base Coach
Succeeded by
Billy Hatcher
  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
  • Baseball Reference (Minors)
  • BR Bullpen
  • Baseball Library
  • Retrosheet
  • Venezuelan Baseball League

External links

  1. ^ "The Ballplayers - Lee May". BaseballLibrary.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Lee May Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  3. ^ a b Sport Magazine August 1972 "Lee May: The Man Behind the Astros' Surge"
  4. ^ a b "Lee May Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  5. ^ http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CIN/CIN196509011.shtml
  6. ^ http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CIN/CIN196609240.shtml
  7. ^ "The Sporting News: Rookie of the Year". Baseballstats.tripod.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  8. ^ "1967 Topps All-Star Rookie Team - BR Bullpen". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  9. ^ http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mayle01.shtml
  10. ^ http://www.hardballtimes.com/card-corner-1972-topps-lee-may/
  11. ^ "SI.com - Statitudes - Statitudes: Week in Review, By the Numbers - Tuesday June 10, 2003 06:10 PM". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Lee Andrew May | reds.com: Hall of Fame". Cincinnati.reds.mlb.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  13. ^ "June 24, 1970 San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds Play by Play and Box Score". Baseball-Reference.com. 1970-06-24. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  14. ^ "1970 World Series - Baltimore Orioles over Cincinnati Reds (4-1)". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  15. ^ "1971 Cincinnati Reds Batting, Pitching, & Fielding Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  16. ^ Smith, Curt (2001). Storied Stadiums. New York City: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1187-6.
  17. ^ "Houston Astros Hitting Streaks". Astrosdaily.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  18. ^ "Rare Feats | MLB.com: History". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  19. ^ "April 10, 1975 Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. 1975-04-10. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  20. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2002&dat=19750419&id=cdwqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=GNoFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3689,4390344
  21. ^ "April 18, 1975 Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. 1975-04-18. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ Temple, David G. (2012-07-27). "Card Corner: 1972 Topps: Lee May – The Hardball Times". Hardballtimes.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  24. ^ Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame
  25. ^ http://ashof.org/index.php?submenu=Videos&src=gendocs&ref=Videos&category=Main
  26. ^ "New Reds Hall of Fame member, Lee May and his wife, Terrye (left), along with Tony and Pituka Perez get photographed by Mary Slover. - photophil". Photophil.smugmug.com. 2014-02-19. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  27. ^ "Perez's major-league sacrifice". Reds.enquirer.com. 2000-07-19. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  28. ^ "Lee May Jr.".  
  29. ^ Steve Rushin (1993-05-24). "Cheers for Sam Malone, the ex-Bosox reliever who served - 05.24.93 - SI Vault". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  30. ^ "Notes from a 12 Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks: Mark Tye Turner: 9781570616020: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 


See also

May was also mentioned in a chapter about the Kingdome in the book Notes From a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks.[30]

May was featured in a Sports Illustrated story about TV character Sam Malone (played by Ted Danson) from the show Cheers. Fictitiously, Malone was a former major league pitcher who served up a pitch that May crushed all the way out of Baltimore's Memorial Stadium.[29]

Literary References

Lee May and his wife, Terrye,[26][27] have three children and nine grandchildren. His son, Lee May, Jr., was a New York Mets first-round pick in 1986,[28] worked as the hitting coach for the AAA Columbus Clippers, and is currently serving as the Seattle Mariners roving minor league hitting coordinator. Lee May Jr.'s son Jacob May played baseball at Coastal Carolina University. Jacob was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 3rd round 91st overall in the 2013 MLB Draft on June 7, 2013.


In 2009, May was selected to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.[25]

In 2006, May was elected to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.[12]

In 1998, May was inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame.[24]

May is currently in three different hall of fames.

In his 18-season career, May posted a .267 batting average, with 354 home runs, 1244 runs batted in, and 2031 hits in 2071 games. May was prone to strike out; 10 times he fanned more than 100 times in a season and compiled 1,570 in his career. However, he is one of 11 major leaguers to reach the 100-RBI plateau playing for three teams, the others being Dick Allen, Joe Carter, Orlando Cepeda, Rocky Colavito, Goose Goslin, Rogers Hornsby, Reggie Jackson, Al Simmons, Vic Wertz, and Alex Rodriguez.

Overall career

Following his release from the Royals, he was hired back as the team's hitting coach and earned a World Series ring as part of the 1985 World Series championship team.[23]

After being allowed to leave the Orioles via free agency after the 1980 season, May signed with the Royals as part-time 1B/DH/pinch hitter. Despite hitting .308 in only 48 games in 1982, the 39-year-old May was released by the team in November and he decided to call it a career.

Kansas City Royals 1981–82

In his last three seasons with the Orioles, May was primarily used as a designated hitter to make room for a young Eddie Murray at first base. Although May was a major contributor in 1979 with 19 homers and 69 RBI, in the 1979 World Series, he only came to bat twice because the DH was not used in that series.

In 1976, May enjoyed his best season as an Oriole. He hit 25 home runs and led the American League in RBI with 109.[2] For his effort, May won the Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole Award.[22]

May took an immediate liking to the American League. In his first at bat in the junior circuit, he hit a three-run home run at Tiger Stadium.[19] In his first appearance at Boston's Fenway Park, May crushed two three-run home runs over the park's famed Green Monster including a game-winning shot.[20][21]

On December 23, 1974, May was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, along with minor league outfielder Jay Schlueter for infielder/outfielder Enos Cabell and second baseman Rob Andrews.

Baltimore Orioles 1975–80

May brought much-needed power to the Astro line-up. Although his power numbers dropped in the Astrodome, the toughest ballpark to hit a home run in the National League,[16] he continued to drive in runs on a regular basis. His 105 RBI in 1973 was second in the league.[2] During the 1973 season, May set an Astro club record with a 21-game hitting streak. It was during this streak he hit three home runs in one game (also a club record) and collected his 1000th base hit.[17] On April 29, 1974, May became the 17th player in MLB history to hit two home runs in one inning.[18]

With the Reds needing to shore up their infield defense and add speed on the basepaths and seeing Jack Billingham, infielder Denis Menke, outfielder César Gerónimo and minor leaguer Ed Armbrister for May, second baseman Tommy Helms and utility man Jimmy Stewart.

Houston Astros 1972–74

Although the Reds slumped in 1971, May continued to slug away, hitting 39 home runs (3rd in the NL) and driving in 98 RBIs (6th in NL).[15] Consequently, May was named the Reds MVP for the 1971 season.[12]

May was the only member of The Big Red Machine to produce in the 1970 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles. Pete Rose batted .250, MVP winner Johnny Bench hit .211, and Tony Perez slumped to .056. May, on the other hand, batted .389 with two home runs and eight RBI (a World Series record for a five-game series at the time[12]) . In game four, the Orioles were leading 5-3 in the 8th inning and looking to sweep the series. The Reds had two baserunners on when May came to the plate against Eddie Watt. May hit a ball into the left field bleachers at Memorial Stadium (Baltimore) to lead the Reds to their one and only victory of the series.[14]

In 1970, the Reds pounded nearly everyone into submission. Batting in the fifth slot, May delivered 94 runs batted in. On June 24, 1970, May hit the last home run in the history of Crosley Field during the park's final game. The game-winning shot came in the eighth inning off San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal.[13]

Teammate Tommy Helms nicknamed May "The Big Bopper of Birmingham" (which later was shortened to "The Big Bopper"). During his time in Cincinnati, May was one of the clubhouse leaders for the Reds. With his pragmatic personality and comic sense of timing, manager Sparky Anderson often called on May to put out clubhouse fires.[12]

In 1969, he finished the year with 38 home runs, 3rd in the National League. He also had 110 RBIs which was 4th in the league. May was also 2nd in extra base hits, 4th in total bases, 6th in slugging percentage and 6th in doubles.[2] Also in 1969, May had three consecutive multi-home run games, a feat that has only happened three other times in major league history.[11]

May made his major league debut on September 1, 1965. He came in as a pinch hitter against the Milwaukee Braves.[5] On September 24, 1966 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, he hit his first major league home run against Bob Shaw of the New York Mets. It turned out to be the game-winning homer.[6] May broke camp as a full-time member of the Reds in 1967. That season, May was named NL Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News.[7] He was also named to the Topps All-Star rookie team.[8] The next two years saw much of the construction of the future The Big Red Machine. Along with Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, and Pete Rose, May helped power arguably one of baseball's great offenses. In 1968, he hit 22 home runs and drove in 80 runs.[9] Despite only walking 38 times and striking out 100 times, he still had an OPS of .805 which was remarkable during the Year of the Pitcher.[10]

Cincinnati Reds 1965–71

Major league

May began his professional career in 1961 with the San Diego Padres, who were then in the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. During his only season with the Padres, May was one of the best players in the league. He hit 34 home runs while driving in 103 runs and hitting .321. He was called up briefly to the Reds at the end of season but then moved to the Reds new Class AAA International League team, the Buffalo Bisons in 1966. A solid AAA season at Buffalo led to his permanent major league promotion.[4]

Minor league