When you think of the history of the Cincinnati Red names like Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan are usually near the top of the list. The Reds have some very famous players who have played for their organization. One influential member of their history who you may not have heard of is Lee May. Lee May is one of the best players ever to play for the Reds but many people only know of him because of an historic trade in 1971. His legacy however goes far beyond that.
Lee May began his tenure with the Reds back in 1961. He worked hard for several years in their farm system before being called up to the majors in 1967. He had little trouble adapting to major league play. He quickly demonstrated his ability to hit with power as he had twelve homeruns and fifty-seven runs batted in with less than five hundred at bats. He was named rookie of the year by the Sporting News and his career quickly took off. Over the next several years he was very productive and his play was recognized in many ways. He was team MVP and eventually voted to the all star game. Despite leading his team to the playoffs however, Reds ownership was looking for even more success.
In 1971 the Reds traded Lee May in a major traded that landed them future Hall of Fame player Joe Morgan. May would ended up playing for several other teams including the Astros before retirement. He spent several years working as a coach as well. In 2006 The Reds honored may by making him a member of their Hall of Fame. May was both surprised and honored by the selection. It was a great way to cap off an excellent baseball career. Lee May’s accomplishment will now live on in Cincinnati history for years to come.