Monday, November 20, 2017

Recent Acquisitions: 9 Lee May Cards

Although I never knew much about him, I have decided now that Lee May is one of my favorite players.  I posted before about my 1969 Topps card, my 1972 Topps league leader card, and a couple others of him.  I also included him in my post of the 1985 Circle K Home Run Kings boxed set.  I decided this wasn't enough.  I ordered a bunch of his cards from COMC, so that what I have in my binder is now much more representative of his career.
1966 Reds Rookie Stars, Lee May and Darrel Osteen.
1967 Reds Rookie Stars, Darrell Osteen and Lee May.
The 1966 Topps and 1967 Topps sets both featured May as a Reds Rookie Star, both times pairing him with Darrell Osteen.  Osteen pitched with the Reds 1965-1967, and with the A's in 1970, compiling a lifetime 1-4 record with 3 saves in 29 games.  May appeared in 5 games with the Reds in 1965, 25 games in 1966, and 127 games in 1967.
1971 Topps Lee May.
I think this 1971 Topps is a great card.  I might try to collect the 1971 set, except dings on the black borders would make it hard for me to be happy with the condition of lots of the cards, I think.  May was in his prime at this point, hitting 38 home runs in 1969, 34 in 1970, and 39 (his career best) in 1971.
1972 Kellogg's Lee May.
I love the easy availability of Kellogg's cards.  I only had a few Kellogg's cards in my original period of collecting, which was before internet commerce was a thing.  The shops I visited didn't have them, and I don't remember coming across them very often at shows, either.  Now, I've added a bunch of great Kellogg's cards to my binder, including this 1972 Lee May.
1972 Topps Lee May.
Topps was more up-to-date than Kellogg's, since Topps had May airbrushed into an Astros uniform for 1972.  May, at the peak of his career, was traded for Joe Morgan, more or less (there were many other players in the trade, but May and Morgan were the big ones).  It worked out well for the Reds and Morgan, who went on to 2 championships soon after.  May performed well for the Astros, with 98, 105, and 85 RBI in his 3 seasons there.
1976 Topps Lee May.
1977 Topps Lee May.
May was traded to the Orioles after the 1974 season.  In 1976, he led the AL in RBI with 109.  By 1979 he started playing less, appearing in only 124 games that year.  Eddie Murray was the Orioles young slugger, and May was getting older.  You can find a number of articles online where Murray talks about learning a lot from May.  I mentioned before how the Orioles used Robin Roberts at the end of his career to mentor Jim Palmer, and the Murray-May relationship sounds similar.
1978 Topps Lee May.
1979 Topps Lee May.
May played in two World Series in his career, with the Reds in 1970 (losing to Baltimore), and with the Orioles in 1979 (losing to Pittsburgh).  In 1970, he hit .389 with 2 home runs in the World Series.  In 1979, he only had two plate appearances, going 0-for-1 with one walk.  Maybe he should have had more time -- the Pirates pitchers shut down Eddie Murray pretty effectively, as Murray only batted .154 in the series.

May was a free agent after 1980, and he played his last two seasons with the Royals; I showed some Royals cards of him in my previous post.


  1. Did you mention his brother, Carlos May?

    1. I didn't -- I don't think I have any cards of Carlos.

  2. Always liked Lee May cards as a kid. I connect him with the Orioles as those were the first cards I saw of his.