Monday, September 25, 2017

From My Collection: Lee May (The Big Bopper)

I don't like to have too many cards that I think of as one-of-a-kind in my collection.  I posted this 1972 Topps card of Willie Stargell, Hank Aaron, and Lee May (the 1971 NL home run leaders) earlier as an affordable way that I was able to get Hank Aaron into my collection back in the 80s.  But given that I have a few slots in my binder to fill out, I thought maybe I would try to buy a nice Lee May card, so that this isn't my only example of him in his prime. 
Lee May on a league leader card.
It turns out that I don't need to buy anything new, though.  After looking through my binder and planning out my goals to fill it out, I looked back through my box of pre-1980 Topps cards.  I already have a great example of Lee May in his prime, his 1969 Topps card.
1969 Topps Lee May
The card isn't in perfect shape but it has sharp corners and is in better shape than the handful of other 1969s I have -- especially my beat-up Harmon Killebrew, which I'll post someday.  May started in the majors with the Reds in 1965, playing in 5 games, and returned for 25 games in 1966.  In 1967, he was in the majors for good.  This is his fourth Topps card, as he was on a Reds Rookie Stars card in 1966, again in 1967 (both times paired with Darrell Osteen), and had his own card in 1968, which showed the Topps All-Star Rookie trophy.  In 1968, May batted .290 with 22 HR and 80 RBI; this was the first of 11 straight seasons with 20 home runs and 80 RBI.
1982 Topps Lee May card.
May is mainly known for his time on the Reds and Orioles, but played for the Astros and Royals for a few years each, too.  Here you see my 1982 Topps Lee May card.  I've said it before: my cards from this era lived on my bedroom floor and I was only 6 years old.  They didn't make it through unscathed.  The creases indicate I've had this since 1982, and it wasn't a later acquisition. 
1983 Topps Lee May Super Veteran card.
I like these 1983 Super Veteran cards that Topps made; I don't know if they ever did this again.  I thought it was a nice way to honor players who may be near the end of their careers.  May ended his career in 1982 with 354 home runs, 1244 RBI, and 2031 hits.  He's in the Reds Hall of Fame, the Orioles Hall of Fame, and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.  This card is in great shape, indicating that I acquired it not in 1983, but when I was older.

I see that Lee May died just recently, on July 29, 2017, just before I began this blog.  May he rest in peace.

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