The Cincinnati Reds have a very well known history. They have had a number of great players over the years including guys like Frank Robinson, Johnny Bench and Dave Concepcion. One great player that played for the organization that you may not know is Lee May. Lee May had a tremendous career with the Reds that even earned him Hall of Fame Honors. However he is often only remembered as being part of a historic trade. His legacy however far beyond a surprise trade in the early 1970’s.
May’s career in baseball took off in 1961 when he became part of the Red’s farm system. It took him several years to prove his worth but he was finally called up to the major ins 1967. He had an immediate impact hitting twelve homeruns and nearly sixty runs batted in all with less that five hundred at bats. The Sporting News recognized him as the rookie of the year. May’s career would grow over the next few years as he would be voted to an all star game, be named team MVP and even lead the Reds to the playoffs.
Lee May’s success did not keep ownership from looking to improve. In 1971, in a desire to improve team speed and move the team closer to a championship, the Reds traded May. The traded shocked most sports experts and May himself. He would go own to continue a productive career playing for multiple teams before retirement. After years of coaching May was eventually brought back to Cincinnati where he was made part of the teams Hall of Fame. May was honored but surprised by the honor, as he thought he would never make it back to Cincinnati. May would pass away in 2017, however his legacy with the Cincinnati Reds will live on for many years to come.