Lee May was born on Tuesday, March 23, 1943, in Birmingham, Alabama. May was 22 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 1, 1965, with the Cincinnati Reds. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Lee May baseball stats page.
Lee May Autograph on a 1983 Topps Baseball Card (#378 | Checklist )
Lee May Pitching Stats
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Lee May Hitting Stats
Lee May Fielding Stats
Lee May Miscellaneous Stats
|Baserunning Statistics||Other Positions||Common Hitting Ratios||Common Pitching Ratios|
Lee May Miscellaneous Items of Interest
|Team [Click for Roster]||Uniform Numbers||Salary||All-Star||World Series|
|1965 Cincinnati Reds||23||Undetermined||-||-|
|1966 Cincinnati Reds||23||Undetermined||-||-|
|1967 Cincinnati Reds||23||Undetermined||-||-|
|1968 Cincinnati Reds||23||Undetermined||-||-|
|1969 Cincinnati Reds||23||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1970 Cincinnati Reds||23||Undetermined||-||Stats|
|1971 Cincinnati Reds||23||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1972 Houston Astros||23||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1973 Houston Astros||23||Undetermined||-||-|
|1974 Houston Astros||23||Undetermined||-||-|
|1975 Baltimore Orioles||14||$90,000.00||-||-|
|1976 Baltimore Orioles||14||$96,000.00||-||-|
|1977 Baltimore Orioles||14||$130,000.00||-||-|
|1978 Baltimore Orioles||14||$140,000.00||-||-|
|1979 Baltimore Orioles||14||Undetermined||-||Stats|
|1980 Baltimore Orioles||14||Undetermined||-||-|
|1981 Kansas City Royals||14||Undetermined||-||-|
|1982 Kansas City Royals||14||Undetermined||-||-|
|Lee May Stats by Baseball Almanac|
Did you know that Lee May hit the last home run in the history of Crosley Field - which served as home field for the Cincinnati Reds from 1912 through 1970? The park's final game was played on June 24, 1970 , the historic home run occurred in the eighth inning, future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal was on the mound, the bases were empty (courtesy of a Johnny Bench home run in the previous at-bat), the score was tied 4-4, when May deposited the pitch over the wall to put the Big Red Machine ahead 5-4.
Crosley Field Final Game | News Story & Photo Collage | June 24, 1970 ( Box Score )
Lee May was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in July 2006 and finished his big league career with 354 home runs. In Sport Magazine, August 1972, Page 70, (Arnold Hano, 'Lee May, the Man Behind the Astros Surge') May said, "I deliberately try to hit a home run every time up. That is what they pay me for." The Big Bopper did what he said, hitting 20 or more home runs (and drove in 80+ RBIs) in 11 consecutive seasons, 1968 through 1978, with three different teams, and of the 18 Hall of Fame first basemen , May has more homers than 10 of them.
Lee May: Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame (Class of 2006)
May was signed by the Reds out of Birmingham, AL in 1961. He toiled in the farm system for almost six full seasons before he broke through with a stellar rookie performance in 1967. In only 438 at-bats, May belted twelve home runs and drove in 57. May was named The Sporting News Rookie of the Year for his efforts. Teammate Tommy Helms christened May, "The Big Bopper of Birmingham" and May's impressive rookie campaign helped to solidify the nickname.
Over the next two seasons, May blossomed into one of the league's top power hitters and the Reds inched ever closer to a title. May lead the club in home runs in 1968 and 1969 and the '69 Reds finished just four games off the pace in the newly formed National League Western Division. May was also becoming a clubhouse leader. A no-nonsense personality combined with a biting sense of humor allowed May to be both disarming and persuasive. May gradually had become the player most likely to be tapped to put out clubhouse fires. Manager Sparky Anderson once commented, "I can't tell you how many times I had May in for a little talk about something that was wrong and he'd say, 'OK, Skip, I'll take care of it'".
At 6'3" and 205 lbs., May was also an intimidating physical presence. He joked once about his ability to convince Helms to retrieve any and all pop-ups in the high sky at Wrigley Field. If the second baseman failed to do so, "He would be talking to me (May) after the game." Not surprisingly, according to May, the diminutive Helms seemed to play some of his best games in Chicago, chasing down every ball that was hit to the right side of the infield. There was certainly more than a little humor infusing his directive to his longtime teammate, but Helms's reaction also made it clear that May's words carried great weight in the clubhouse.
Led by new manager Sparky Anderson, the 1970 Reds domination of the National League cemented the "Big Red Machine" label that had been affixed to the club the previous year. After sweeping the Pirates in the LCS, the Reds squared off against the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.
In a Series best remembered for Elrod Hendricks's phantom tag of Bernie Carbo in Game 1 and the brilliant defensive play of Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson, Lee May shone for the Reds. May batted an impressive .389 in the Series and set a record for a five game Series by driving in eight runs. His biggest hit came in Game 4 with the Reds facing elimination after losing the Series' first three contests.
Trailing 5-3 in the eighth inning, May came to the plate with two runners on base. Facing reliever Eddie Watt, May launched a three-run blast on the first pitch he saw that gave the Reds a 6-5 lead that, unlike in the Series' first two games, they would not relinquish. Said a jubilant May after the game, "I knew it was gone as soon as I hit it and the only thing I could think as I was running the bases was how fortunate we were. When I got back to the bench I was still so thrilled and amazed that all I saw were people's faces and all I heard were sounds."
Although the Orioles' Series clinching victory the next day overshadowed May's clutch home run, there was much for May and the Reds to feel good about. They were a young team that had demonstrated an ability to overwhelm National League competition and they had shown themselves to be a more than worthy adversary to the American League's powerhouse club.
The prohibitive favorites to repeat their success of the year before, the 1971 Reds stumbled out of the gate and never recovered, finishing a woeful 79-83. Despite the club's poor performance, May had another outstanding season pacing the club for the third time in home runs and, for the first time, led the team in RBI as well. His exemplary performance netted him the club's Most Valuable Player award as well as his first appearance on the National League All-Star team. May's strong season notwithstanding, Reds General Manager Bob Howsam concluded that the 1971 season had exposed fundamental weaknesses in his club. Foremost among them was a lack of team speed. Playing on the Astroturf at Riverfront Stadium, Howsam determined that the Reds needed to become faster.
Source of Excerpt: Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. Lee May. Full Biography .
The Big Bopper of Birmingham had three 100 RBI seasons with three different Major League teams: the 1969 Cincinnati Reds , the 1973 Houston Astros , and the 1976 Baltimore Orioles . At the time of his retirement (09/24/1982), May was one of only eight Major Leaguers to reach the 100-RBI plateau with three different teams, the others being Dick Allen , Orlando Cepeda , Rocky Colavito , Goose Goslin , Rogers Hornsby , Reggie Jackson , Al Simmons and Vic Wertz .
Last-Modified: September 28, 2018 2:54 AM EST