May in 1966
|Born: December 14, 1943|
|Died: June 30, 1996 (aged 52)|
|September 19, 1964, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 3, 1973, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Runs batted in||130|
Jerry Lee May (December 14, 1943 – June 30, 1996) was an American professional baseball player. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1964 through 1973 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, and New York Mets. May was notable for his defensive skills and ability to handle a pitching staff.
Originally a pitcher and an outfielder, May threw six no hitters in American Legion Baseball. In 1961, he was contracted as an amateur free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates, who converted him to a catcher. The scout who signed him for the Pirates organization was Syd Thrift, who would later serve as general manager of the Pirates and Baltimore Orioles.
May began his playing career as a reserve catcher to Jim Pagliaroni, before becoming the Pirates' regular catcher from 1967 to 1969. May was the Pirates' catcher on June 12, 1970, when pitcher, Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. By the 1969 season, Manny Sanguillén had taken over as the Pirates' regular catcher, and in December 1970, May was traded along with Fred Patek to the Kansas City Royals.
In a ten-year major league career, May played in 556 games, accumulating 357 hits in 1,527 at bats for a .234 career batting average along with 15 home runs, 130 runs batted in and a .307 on-base percentage. While May wasn't a strong hitter, he was valued for his defensive skills, posting a .990 fielding percentage over his career. He threw out 42.57% of the base runners who tried steal a base on him, ranking him 11th on the all-time list. May led National League catchers in 1970 with a 50% baserunners caught stealing percentage.
- Jerry May at Baseball Reference
- Tuning In On New Receivers, by Gordon Forbes, Baseball Digest, September 1966, Vol. 25, No. 8, ISSN 0005-609X
- Ellis throws first no-hitter of season
- Bucs swing 6-player deal with Kansas City Royals
- Catcher's fielding records at The Encyclopedia of Catchers
- 1970 National League Fielding Leaders at Baseball Reference
- "Ex-big leaguer dies in accident". The Argus-Press. July 1, 1996. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference