Dave May, an outfielder who spent four of his 12 major league seasons in an Orioles uniform and was the answer to one of baseball’s weirdest trivia questions, died Saturday in Bear, Del. He was 68, and had been battling diabetes and cancer.
May, a native of New Castle, Del., who graduated from New Castle High School, was drafted in 1961 by the Giants and acquired by the Orioles a year later in the first-year draft. He debuted with the Orioles in 1967 and played in Baltimore until 1970, when he was dealt to the Brewers on June 15 for pitchers Dick Baney and Buzz Stephen. May batted .216 with five homers and 30 RBIs as an Oriole and appeared in the 1969 American League Championship Series against the Twins and the 1969 World Series against the Mets.
His best season came in 1973 for Milwaukee, when May batted .303 with 25 homers and 93 RBIs. He earned his only All-Star Game appearance, replacing starter Amos Otis of the Royals in center field and later shifting to right, and finished eighth in the American League Most Valuable Player balloting. But May slumped badly the next season, hitting only .226 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs, and was dealt to the Braves in November, along with a player to be named, for baseball’s all-time home run king, Hank Aaron.
May played two seasons in Atlanta before being traded to Texas prior to the 1977 campaign, and then split 1978 between the Brewers and Rangers, his final major league season. Over 12 years, he was a career .251 hitter with 96 homers and 422 RBIs.
The Bear, Del., resident was a member of the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame and lived in Delaware during his playing days in Baltimore, commuting daily to Memorial Stadium, which earned him the nickname “Turnpike.” After his retirement, he played semi-pro baseball in his home state.
May’s son, Derrick, also played for the Orioles, ending a 10-year major league career in Baltimore in 1999. Derrick May is currently a minor league hitting coordinator for the Cardinals.
The Mays are one of six father/son combinations to play for the O’s - the others were Bob (1954-55) and Terry (1987-88) Kennedy, Don (1968-72) and Damon (1993-95) Buford, John O’Donoghue Sr. (1968) and Jr. (1993), Tim Raines Sr. and Jr. (2001), and Dave (1989-91) and Steve (2012) Johnson.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete.