May with the San Francisco Giants in 1983
|Born: August 1, 1950|
|September 8, 1970, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 30, 1984, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Runs batted in||443|
|Career highlights and awards|
Milton Scott May (born August 1, 1950) is an American former professional baseball player and coach. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball from 1970 to 1984 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and San Francisco Giants.
Milt May 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. 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.
At age 21, May was a member of the Pirates team that won the 1971 World Series. 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 Pirates victory. 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. However the experiment ended by July when it was determined that Sanguillén could not adjust to playing in the outfield and May was back on the Pirates' bench.
After the 1973 season, May was traded to the Houston Astros for Jerry Reuss. He became the Astros starting catcher, replacing veteran Johnny Edwards. He led National League catchers with a .993 fielding percentage in 1974. May led all National League catchers in 1975 with 70 assists and 47 baserunners caught stealing. He was also charged with 18 passed balls in 1975 for the Astros, who had knuckleballer Joe Niekro on their staff. On May 4, 1975, May drove in Bob Watson for Major League Baseball's one millionth run.
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. 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. 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 a fifteen-year major league career, May played in 1,192 games, accumulating 971 hits in 3,693 at bats for a .263 career batting average along with 77 home runs and 443 runs batted in. He ended his career with a .986 fielding percentage.
May became a coach for the Pirates in 1987, serving under manager Jim Leyland. He was major-league hitting coach for ten seasons in Pittsburgh (1987-96) and two with the Florida Marlins (1997-98). He spent the first half of the 1999 season with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and was later named a pitching coach for the Colorado Rockies. May was a scout for the Rockies in 2000, then spent the 2001 season as a Pirates minor-league hitting coordinator."
He is the son of baseball third baseman Pinky May and the brother-in-law of pitcher Pat Osburn. He is the brother of Merrill May. May was a shortstop at St. Petersburg High School. He lives in Bradenton, Florida, with his wife, Brenda. He has two children, Scott and Merrily, and six grandchildren.