The name Lee May may not sound familiar to the casual baseball fan. Diehard Reds fans however, are most likely very aware of the name. Currently in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, Lee May achieved great success during his time in the Major Leagues. He is often remembered for being the guy who was traded for the great Joe Morgan. Despite the surprising trade, Lee May went on to have one of the best careers in Reds history.
Lee May’s journey with the Reds began in 1961 we he was put in their farm system. He would spend several years there before finally breaking through as a rookie in 1967. Lee had an amazing rookie campaign. With less than 500 at bats he managed to hit twelve homeruns and drive in nearly sixty runs. He was named rookie of the year by The Sporting News. His success would continue for several years. May proved to be a powerful hitter and was seen as a leader in the clubhouse. During the next few years after his rookie season, he was named team MVP, selected to an all-star game and even led the team to the playoffs.
Reds ownership had a lack of contentment despite the teams success. They were looking to make changes that could take the team to the next level. A big and surprising trade soon followed in 1971 that sent May packing. The trade was shocking for most. May would go on to play for several other teams including the Astros, Orioles and Royals. His career was very productive and in 2006, May was eventually brought back to Cincinnati. The Reds put May into their team Hall of Fame. When speaking of the honor May said the following: “I never thought I’d make it.” ” I’ve got a lot of good memories and I have a lot of good friends that I met when I played in Cincinnati.” Lee May passed away in 2017. His amazing legacy however, continues on.