Baltimore Orioles: Retired first-baseman Lee May passes away
On Saturday, July 29, retired Baltimore Orioles ball player Lee May passed away at the age of 74.
May spent six years with the Baltimore Orioles where he played first base in the second half of his career.
In honor of his passing, prior to Monday’s game at Camden Yards, the Orioles will have a moment of silence to remember the three-time All-Star.
At the time of his death, May was living in Cincinnati, Ohio. He spent his first seven years of his 18-year career with the Reds. He was an All-Star twice with them and the third honor was given to him when he played for the Houston Astros.
May played for the Orioles between 1975 and 1980. He played on the team that lost the World Series in 1979 to the Philadelphia Phillies. He recorded one hit in this postseason when he played for the O’s.
Kind words from friends and teammates
In an article by C. Trent Rosecrans with Cincinnati Enquirer, many players and friends had kind words to say about May. Marty Brennaman, a Reds broadcaster said about May:
"“He’s one of the finest people I’ve ever known in baseball…He’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. The kind of guy that if he liked you, you were the focal point of a lot of insults and good-natured ribbing.”"
In the same article, teammate Pete Rose repeated Brennaman’s sentiment:
"“Everybody liked Lee, such a delightful guy. He was never mad, was never angry. On the field he was very aggressive and had a short swing.”"
May was jokingly called Big Bopper because of his prowess for hitting home runs. In his 18 year season, he hit 354 home runs and knocked in 1,244 RBIs. He had three seasons with more than 30 home runs and in 1971 he hit 39 of them! With the Orioles, Lee hit 123 of his homers. In 1976 with the Orioles he led the NL with 109 RBIs.
Baseball in the family
Baseball runs in May’s family. His brother, Carlos May, played for 10 years – the majority of his time was with the Chicago White Sox. May’s grandson, Jacob May, is currently in the minor league system with Chicago White Sox, and has played in 15 games in the Big League.
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May was a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame and the Reds Hall of Fame due to his consistency at the plate. He had 11 seasons with more than 20 home runs.
In an article by Mike Klingaman with The Baltimore Sun, teammate Jim Palmer said about May:
"“He had a tremendously quick bat, though a bit unorthodox in the way he waved it…He was a great influence off the field, too. He set a veteran tone and was a good role model for (a young) Eddie Murray, teaching him how to be a professional.”"
According to Klingaman, May is survived by his wife, two daughters, one son, nine grand children, and one great-grandchild.
Next: Remembers four Orioles Hall of Fame players
In the baseball world and at home, Lee May will certainly be missed. At Birds Watcher, we send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and former teammates.