(March 23, 1943 – July 29, 2017)
Known as “The Big Bopper,” Lee May was a fan favorite in Cincinnati. He played for the Reds from 1965 through 1971, when he was traded to the Astros. Of his 354 home runs, 147 came as a member of the Reds. He was a three-time All-Star and played in two World Series. In 1976, he led the American League with 109 RBI as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. His career closed in 1982 with Kansas City. He is a member of both the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles Halls of Fame. May passed away Saturday at the age of 74.
Condolences abounded on Twitter from his former teams, teammates, fans, and more…
Reds mourn death of Lee May pic.twitter.com/KHwuXFDz3U
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 30, 2017
The Astros join the baseball community in mourning the passing of All-Star Lee May. Lee played for the Astros for three seasons from 1972-74
— Houston Astros (@astros) July 30, 2017
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
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
Mr. Noe was special! RIP Big Bopper Lee May
— Johnny Bench (@JohnnyBench_5) July 30, 2017
So sorry to hear of the passing of former teammate Lee May. A superb sense of dry humor was Lee's trademark. A feared slugger. #RIPBIGBOPPER
— Ken Singleton (@29alltime) July 30, 2017
— Dan Epstein (@BigHairPlasGras) July 30, 2017
— Mark Gubicza (@Markgubicza) July 30, 2017
— Jim Palmer (@Jim22Palmer) July 30, 2017
Want to say how deeply saddened I am today of the loss of the "big bopper" lee may. U made me laugh everytime we were together RIP my friend
— Todd Frazier (@FlavaFraz21) July 30, 2017
RIP, Lee May pic.twitter.com/oI01m19v7K
— Gummy Arts (@gummyarts) July 31, 2017
RIP Lee May. Traded for Joe Morgan, later took Mayday Malone all the way out of Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. pic.twitter.com/me5hRMZyte
— Joe Belock (@JoeBelock) July 31, 2017
So sad to hear of passing of The Big Bopper from B'ham. He tore up '70 WS (.389/2/8 in 5 gms) & ended career in Top 35 for career HRs. 🙏 RIP pic.twitter.com/KQZeRPhfki
— History Thru Cards (@CardboardHistry) July 30, 2017
March 23, 1943
Lee May was nicknamed “The Big Bopper of Birmingham,” a name given to him by teammate Tommy Helms. The Sporting News called him the Rookie of the Year, but Tom Seaver took home the MLB award. May was a popular player in Cincinnati, hitting 147 home runs in seven seasons and being inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2006.
After getting scribbles from Oester and Power, Joshua and I decided to take advantage of our Hall of Fame Membership and mingle with former Reds stars in a less crowded environment. We were reminded as we entered the lounge (what Joshua called the “VIP section”) that while photographs were welcome, we were not allowed to ask for autographs back there.
May was a better than average player, but is probably most remembered for being used as tradebait in 1971 to lure Joe Morgan, Jack Billingham, and Cesar Geronimo away from Houston. Talk about a lopsided deal!
It’s almost time for Redsfest! I need to double-check my cards, because I didn’t pull out any Lee May cardboard, and he will be there! I may not have any May cards, as my pre-1972 Reds collection is seriously lacking. But it will be easy enough to check. I’m taking one of every player I have that will be appearing, just in case the line is short enough. I won’t wait long for some of the players, but if the line is short I would definitely slide in to get May, Scudder, Braggs, and Benzinger, among others. I imagine the line for Piniella will be insanely long…he’s still a popular guy around here. Hey, he was the last one to lead the Reds to a championship. Come home, Lou!
I’m out…time to go wait in line for the doors to open!