Milt May
Catcher
Born: (1950-08-01) August 1, 1950
Gary, Indiana
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 8, 1970 for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1984 for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Career statistics
Batting average .263
Hits 971
Runs 313
Home runs 77
Runs batted in 443
On-base plus slugging .318
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • World Series champion (1971), (1997)
  • Drafted: 1968 by Pittsburgh Pirates (Round: 11)
  • Drove in Major League Baseball's 1,000,000th Run (1975)

Milton Scott May (born August 1, 1950 in Gary, Indiana) is a former professional baseball player and coach who played in the Major Leagues from 1970 to 1984 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and San Francisco Giants.[1] May was a catcher who hit for a fairly high batting average during the era in which he played. May drove in the one millionth run in Major League Baseball history on May 4, 1975, with a three-run home run.[2]

Major League career

Milt was signed as an infielder in the 11th round of the 1968 Major League Baseball Draft by the Pirates, who then converted him into a catcher.[3] He was a good handler of pitchers and a left-handed line drive hitter who rarely swung at a bad pitch, but also was reputedly the slowest runner in the majors for much of his career.[4]

At age 21, May was a member of the Pirates team that won the 1971 World Series.[1] In the seventh inning of Game Four of that series, his pinch-hit single drove in Bob Robertson with the winning run in a 4-3 Pirate victory.[5] Tragedy struck the Pirates in late 1972, when outfielder Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash. May was slated to replace Clemente in the Pirates' lineup in 1973, with catcher Manny Sanguillén moving to right field.[6] However the experiment ended by July when it was determined that Sanguillen could not adjust to playing in the outfield and May was back on the Pirates' bench.[7]

After the 1973 season, May was traded to the Houston Astros for Jerry Reuss.[3] He became the Astros starting catcher, replacing veteran Johnny Edwards.[8] He led National League catchers with a .993 fielding percentage in 1974.[9] May led all National League catchers in 1975 with 70 assists and 47 baserunners caught stealing.[1] He was also charged with 18 passed balls in 1975 for the Astros, who had knuckleballer Joe Niekro on their staff.[7] On May 4, 1975, May drove in Bob Watson for Major League Baseball's one millionth run.[2]

May was then traded to Detroit, where he played six games in 1976, before a broken ankle sidelined him for the season. He recovered in 1977 to record 12 double plays and 0 passed balls.[1] In 1978, May platooned with an up and coming Lance Parrish. By 1979, Parrish had taken over as the regular Tigers catcher, and May was traded to the Chicago White Sox. After only one year in Chicago, he then signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent.[3] On June 13, 1980, during a 3-1 win over the New York Mets‚ May hit the 9000th home run in the history of the Giants franchise. John Montgomery Ward hit home run #1 in 1883‚ and the 8‚000th was hit by Bobby Bonds on September 4‚ 1971. In 1981, he batted .310 -which was the highest mark ever for a Giants catcher.

In August 1983, the Giants traded him back to the Pirates for catcher Steve Nicosia.[3] May retired as a player after the 1984 season.[1]

Career statistics

In a 15 year career, May played in 1192 games, accumulating 971 hits in 3693 at bats for a .263 career batting average along with 77 home runs and 443 runs batted in.[1] He ended his career with a .986 fielding percentage.[1]

Coaching career

May became a coach for the Pirates in 1987, serving under manager Jim Leyland.[10] He was major-league hitting coach for ten seasons in Pittsburgh (1987-96) and two with the Florida Marlins (1997-98).[2] He spend the first half of the 1999 season with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and was later named a pitching coach for the Colorado Rockies.[2] May was a scout for the Rockies in 2000, then spent the 2001 season as a Pirates minor-league hitting coordinator."[2]

Personal

He is the son of baseball third baseman Pinky May and the brother-in-law of pitcher Pat Osburn.[1] May was a shortstop at St. Petersburg High School.[2] He lives in Bradenton, Florida with his wife, Brenda.[2] He has two children: Scott and Merily.[2]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Milt May at Baseball Reference
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h MEET THE RAYS. MARC TOPKIN. St. Petersburg Times (Florida). SPORTS; BASEBALL 2002: Play Time; RAYS 2002; Pg. 6X. March 31, 2002
  3. ^ a b c d Milt May Trades and Transactions at Baseball Almanac
  4. ^ Sports Illustrated, April 26, 1982
  5. ^ 1971 World Series Game 4 box score at Baseball Reference
  6. ^ , by Bob Lenoir, Baseball Digest, July 1975, Vol. 34, No. 7, ISSN 0005-609XManny Sanguillen...Out From Clemente's Shadow
  7. ^ a b Milt May at BR Bull Pen
  8. ^ 1974 Houston Astros season at Baseball Reference
  9. ^ Baseball Digest, July 2001, Vol. 60, No. 7, ISSN 0005-609X
  10. ^ www.baseballlibrary.com

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube