In Memory of Lee May

Three-time All-Star slugger Lee May dies
Brittany Ghiroli, MLB.com
July 31, 2017


(c) Houston Astros

The baseball family lost a valued member on Saturday when former Major League slugger Lee May died at the age of 74 in Cincinnati.

A cause of death has not been revealed.

May, a first baseman and designated hitter known as "Big Bopper," launched 354 home runs in 18 seasons for the Reds (1965-71), Astros (1972-74), Orioles (1975-80) and Royals (1981-82). He was an early member of the Big Red Machine and stepped up big time during the 1970 World Series against the Orioles, batting .389 with two doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs in the five-game series, won by Baltimore.

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of three-time All-Star Lee May, who hit 354 home runs in his career. Rest in peace, Lee.

— MLBPAA (@MLBPAA) July 30, 2017

One of those homers was a go-ahead shot off reliever Eddie Watt in the eighth inning of Game 4 that denied the Orioles a four-game sweep. May also helped give Orioles future Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson the nickname "Hoover" for his legendary defensive performance in that Series.

May was a three-time All-Star, once in 1969 when he had 38 homers and 110 RBIs, again in 1971 when he hit 39 homers, and once again in 1972 when he drove in 98 runs for the Astros, who had acquired him the previous offseason in a blockbuster eight-player trade that sent future Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan from Houston to Cincinnati. The Reds also acquired pitcher Jack Billingham, outfielders Cesar Geronimo and Ed Armbrister and third baseman Denis Menke in that deal.

"We are deeply saddened to lose the Big Bopper," said Rick Walls, executive director of the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. "Lee May was a friend of the Hall and of everyone with whom he came in contact. Our condolences go out to Lee's family during this difficult time. We will always remember him for his contributions to the Reds, but also for his humor and genuine kindness."

We mourn the loss of Orioles Hall of Famer Lee May and will honor him with a pregame moment of silence tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/MElnGXOKYw

— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 30, 2017

Traded by Houston to Baltimore after the 1974 season in a four-player swap that sent Enos Cabell to the Astros, May led the American League with 109 RBIs in 1976. He batted .254 with 123 homers in six seasons with Baltimore and retired after the 1982 season with a career .267 batting average and 1,244 RBIs.

May was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Reds Hall of Fame in 2006. He is survived by his wife, Terrye, and three children, including Lee May Jr., a coach in the Red Sox organization, according to the Orioles.

The Orioles said they will honor May in a ceremony prior to Monday's game against the Royals.


Former Astros slugger Lee May dead at 74
by Matt Young
Houston Chronicle
July 30, 2017

Former Astros slugger Lee May passed away Saturday at the age of 74.

May played first base for the Astros for three seasons from 1972 to 1974. He's best known to Astros fans as the key piece the team got back from the Reds when they traded Joe Morgan to Cincinnati.

May was an All-Star in his first season with the Astros in 1972.

The Astros traded May after the 1974 season, getting Enos Cabell from the Baltimore Orioles.

May had 354 career home runs and made the All-Star team three times. Known as the Big Bopper, May hit 20 or more home runs and 80 or more RBI in 11 consecutive seasons. In 1976, he led the American League in RBI (109).