Lee Andrew May (March 23, 1943 – July 29, 2017) was an 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 was 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 runs batted in (RBI) in 11 consecutive seasons. He led the American League (AL) in RBI in 1976. He also made three All-Star Game appearances, including as the starting first baseman for the National League (NL) team in 1972.
|Born: March 23, 1943|
|Died: July 29, 2017 (aged 74)|
|September 1, 1965, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 24, 1982, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Runs batted in||1,244|
|Career highlights and awards|
May was a standout in both baseball and football at A.H. Parker High School in Birmingham. May played fullback on the varsity football team and was offered a scholarship at the University of Nebraska. However, the Cincinnati Reds organization was also interested in him, and the team signed May to an amateur free agent contract with a $12,000 bonus on June 1, 1961.
May began his professional career in 1961 with the Tampa Tarpons in the Florida State League, a D-league affiliate of the Reds. He played two years in Tampa before moving up to the Rocky Mount Leafs in the Class A Carolina League. The following year he was again promoted, this time to the Macon Peaches in the Class AA Southern League. At all three stops, May, like many black players, endured racist taunts not only from an opposing team's white fans but from the fans of his own team as well. May hated his time in Macon, Georgia the most. Not only did he hear racist epithets, but he also had to avoid thrown bottles. May's emergence in 1964 allowed him to be promoted the following year to 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.
May made his major league debut on September 1, 1965. He came in as a pinch hitter against the Milwaukee Braves. 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. 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. He was also named to the Topps All-Star rookie team. The next two years saw much of the construction of the future The Big Red Machine. Along with Johnny Bench, Tony Pérez, 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. 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.
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. Also in 1969, May had three consecutive multi-home run games, a feat that has only happened three other times in major league history.
Teammate Tommy Helms nicknamed May "The Big Bopper from 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.
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.
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 Pérez 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) . 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.
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). Consequently, May was named the Reds MVP for the 1971 season.
With the Reds needing to shore up their infield defense and add speed on the basepaths and seeing Tony Pérez and May as essentially the same type of player (right-handed power hitters), the Reds sent May to the Houston Astros for future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. The Astros, badly in need of power after finishing last in the NL in home runs in 1971, completed a trade with the Reds on November 29, 1971 that sent second baseman Morgan, pitcher Jack Billingham, infielder Denis Menke, outfielder César Gerónimo and minor leaguer Ed Armbrister for May, second baseman Tommy Helms and utility man Jimmy Stewart.
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, he continued to drive in runs on a regular basis. His 105 RBI in 1973 was second in the league. 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. On April 29, 1974, May became the 17th player in MLB history to hit two home runs in one inning.
He was traded along with Jay Schlueter to the Baltimore Orioles for Enos Cabell and Rob Andrews on December 3, 1974. Averaging 32 homers and 98 RBI as one of MLB's top five power hitters over the previous five seasons, May was expected to improve the Orioles' offensive production at first base.
He 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. 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.
In 1976, May enjoyed his best season as an Oriole. He hit 25 home runs and led the American League in RBI with 109. For his effort, May won the Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole Award.
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.
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.
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.
Lee May and his wife, Terrye, have three children and nine grandchildren. His son, Lee May Jr., was a New York Mets first-round pick in 1986 and played from 1986 through 1993 in their Minor League system. After that, he began his coaching career in the Mets organization in 1999 and later worked as the minor league hitting coordinator for the Seattle Mariners from 2012–2015. He previously served as a manager and coach in the Cleveland Indians system for seven seasons beginning in 2004, and then joined the Boston Red Sox organization in 2016, serving as the hitting coach for the Greenville Drive. May Jr.'s son, Jacob May, played baseball at Coastal Carolina University, and was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the third round (91st overall) of the 2013 MLB Draft.
May died of pneumonia at a hospital in Cincinnati on July 29, 2017, aged 74. He also had heart disease.
May was featured in a Sports Illustrated story written by Steve Rushin 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.
| Kansas City Royals Hitting Coach
| Cincinnati Reds First Base Coach
| Tampa Bay Rays First Base Coach
The 1970 Cincinnati Reds season consisted of the Reds winning the National League West title with a record of 102–60, 14½ games ahead of the runner-up Los Angeles Dodgers. The Reds defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in three straight games in the 1970 National League Championship Series to win their first National League pennant since 1961. The team then lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the 1970 World Series in five games.
The Reds were managed by first-year manager George "Sparky" Anderson and played their home games at Crosley Field during the first part of the year, before moving into the then-new Riverfront Stadium on June 30.1970 World Series
The 1970 World Series matched the American League champion Baltimore Orioles (108–54 in the regular season) against the National League champion Cincinnati Reds (102–60), with the Orioles winning in five games.
In this series Emmett Ashford became the first African American to umpire in the Fall Classic. It also featured the first World Series games to be played on artificial turf, as Games 1 and 2 took place at Cincinnati's first-year Riverfront Stadium.
This was the last World Series in which all games were played in the afternoon. Also this was the third time in a World Series where a team leading 3–0 in the series would fail to complete the sweep by losing game 4 but still win game 5 to win the series. 1910 and 1937 were the others. This was the last World Series until 2017 in which both participating teams won over 100 games during the regular season.1972 Houston Astros season
The 1972 Houston Astros season was a season in American baseball. The team finished second in the National League West with a record of 84–69, 10½ games behind the Cincinnati Reds and just a percentage point ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers.1975 Baltimore Orioles season
The 1975 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing 2nd in the American League East with a record of 90 wins and 69 losses.1978 Baltimore Orioles season
The 1978 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing fourth in the American League East with a record of 90 wins and 71 losses.1979 World Series
The 1979 World Series was the 76th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series and the conclusion of the 1979 Major League Baseball season. A best-of-seven playoff, it was played between the National League (NL) champion Pittsburgh Pirates (98–64) and the American League (AL) champion Baltimore Orioles (102–57), with the Pirates becoming the fourth team in World Series history to come back from a three games to one deficit to win the Series in seven games. This marked the second time in the 1970s the Pirates won a World Series Game 7 on the road against Baltimore Orioles, the previous time being in the 1971 World Series. The Pirates were famous for adopting Sister Sledge's hit anthem "We Are Family" as their theme song.
Willie Stargell, pitcher Bruce Kison, and catcher Manny Sanguillén were the only players left over from the Pirates team that defeated the Orioles in the 1971 World Series, and Orioles' pitcher Jim Palmer, shortstop Mark Belanger, and manager Earl Weaver were the only remaining Orioles from the 1971 team. Grant Jackson pitched for the Orioles in the 1971 series and for the Pirates in the 1979 series.
In this Series, it was the American League team's "turn" to play by National League rules, meaning no designated hitter and the Orioles' pitchers would have to bat. While this resulted in Tim Stoddard getting his first major league hit and RBI in Game 4, overall, it hurt the Orioles because Lee May, their designated hitter for much of the season and a key part of their offense, was only able to bat three times in the whole series.
Willie Stargell, the series MVP, hit .400 with a record seven extra-base hits and matched Reggie Jackson's record of 25 total bases, set in 1977.
The 1979 Pirates were the last team to win Game 7 of a World Series on the road until the San Francisco Giants defeated the Royals in Kansas City to win Game 7 of the 2014 Series. They were also the last road team to win Game 7 of a championship round, in any major league sport, until the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2–1 at Joe Louis Arena to win the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals. With the Steelers having already won Super Bowl XIII, Pittsburgh also became the second city to win both the Super Bowl and the World Series in the same year, with the New York Jets and the New York Mets winning titles in 1969. New York repeated the feat in 1986 (New York Mets and New York Giants), as did the New England area in the 2004 season (Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots) and the 2018 season (Red Sox and Patriots).Alan Lee
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Alan Lee (bandleader) (born 1936), Australian jazz band leader, vibraphonist, guitarist and percussionist
Alan Lee (illustrator) (born 1947), English book illustrator and movie conceptual designer
Alan Lee (footballer) (born 1978), Irish footballer
Alan Lee (cricket writer), British cricket writer
Alan David Lee, Australian actorHouston Astros
The Houston Astros are an American professional baseball team based in Houston, Texas. The Astros compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) West division, having moved to the division in 2013 after spending their first 51 seasons in the National League (NL). The Astros have played their home games at Minute Maid Park since 2000.The Astros were established as the Houston Colt .45s and entered the National League as an expansion team in 1962 along with the New York Mets. The current name—reflecting Houston's role as the control center of the U.S. crewed space program—was adopted three years later, when they moved into the Astrodome, the first domed sports stadium, and the so-called "eighth wonder of the world."
The Astros played in the NL from 1962 to 2012, first in the West Division from 1969 to 1993, followed by the Central Division from 1994 to 2012. The team was reclassified to the AL West from 2013 onward. While a member of the NL, the Houston Astros played in one World Series in 2005, losing in four games to the Chicago White Sox. In 2017, they became the first franchise in MLB history to have won a pennant in both the NL and the AL, when they defeated the New York Yankees in the ALCS. They won the 2017 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning four games to three, earning the team, and the state of Texas, its first World Series title.Montauk Project
The Montauk Project is a conspiracy theory that alleges there were a series of secret United States government projects conducted at Camp Hero or Montauk Air Force Station on Montauk, New York, for the purpose of developing psychological warfare techniques and exotic research including time travel. The story of the Montauk Project originated in the Montauk Project series of books by Preston Nichols which intermixes those stories with stories about the Bulgarian Experiment.She's Gotta Have It (TV series)
She's Gotta Have It is an American comedy-drama television series created by Spike Lee. It is based on his 1986 film of the same name. Ten 30-minute episodes were ordered by Netflix, all of which were directed by Lee. The show premiered on November 23, 2017. On January 1, 2018, the series was renewed for a second season and premiered on May 24, 2019. On July 17, 2019, Netflix canceled the series after two seasons.Tomy Lee
Tomy Lee (May 7, 1956 – October 29, 1971) was a British-bred Thoroughbred racehorse who won the 1959 Kentucky Derby defeating Sword Dancer, First Landing, Royal Orbit and the filly Silver Spoon. Tomy Lee became only the second non-American bred horse to ever win the Kentucky Derby and Bertie Kerr became the first non-American agent to buy a winner.William Henry Fitzhugh Lee
William Henry Fitzhugh Lee (May 31, 1837 – October 15, 1891), known as Rooney Lee (often spelled "Roony" among friends and family) or W.H.F. Lee, was the second son of General Robert E. Lee and Mary Anna Custis. He was a planter, a Confederate cavalry General in the American Civil War, and later a Congressman from Virginia.Willie May
Willie Lee May (November 11, 1936 – March 28, 2012) was an American hurdler.Born in Knoxville, Alabama, May attended Indiana University, where he won seven Big Ten championships in the hurdles between 1957 and 1959. He won the silver medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. May ran 13.99 in that race and was beaten by Lee Calhoun, another American, who ran 13.98. After earning another silver medal at the 1963 Pan American Games, May decided to begin his teaching and coaching career.Willie May burst onto the Illinois Track & Field scene in 1955, leading Blue Island High School, now Eisenhower High, to an Illinois State Championship while personally collecting three gold medals in the 120-yard high hurdles, 180-yard low hurdles and in 880-yard relay - See more at: http://evanstonnow.com/story/sports/bill-smith/2012-03-29/48718/olympic-medalist-and-former-eths-athletic-director-dies#sthash.HixRMJVj.dpuf
May became the head coach of the track and field team at Evanston Township High School in 1975 and continued in that position through the 2006 season. He served as the athletic director at ETHS for 17 years, from 1983 to 2000. As a coach, May led the Wildkits to 24 consecutive Central Suburban League conference championships from 1976 to 1999, five IHSA state trophies, and one state championship (1979). Coach May has been inducted into the Indiana University Athletic Hall of Fame (2000), the Illinois Track & Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2007) and the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame (2010). He died at 75 years old of complications from amyloidosis.
Members of the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame
"Wild Bill" Hagy Award
Members of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame